Alpha Centauri ‘should have an Earth-like planet’

Tomas Martin @ 11-03-2008

An artist’s impression of an earth-like planet around Alpha CentauriAlpha Centauri is the closest star system to our own but with a bonus: there are three stars rather than one. It’s also one of the best chances we know in the local area to have a planet similar to Earth capable of developing life like ours.

If any planet were to harbour earth-like life in the three-star system, it would likely be around Alpha Centauri A, which is most similar to the sun. However astronomer Javier Guedes and his coauthors believe that Alpha Centauri B is likely to have terrestrial planets in its habitable region. Based on computer simulations of planet formation, Guedes and his team found that no matter what starting conditions, a terrestrial planet always formed around the star. By studying the ‘wobbles’ the planet causes on its parent star, the team reckon they could find any potential planets within a few years.

[story via Daily Galaxy, image via Solstation]

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18 Responses to “Alpha Centauri ‘should have an Earth-like planet’”

  1. Meaux says:

    And so, I ask, why are we not immediately dispatching probes to this star system to confirm? Although I live down in the Louisiana bayou’s, and thus a ‘primitive’, I find it difficult to beleive that there is not more enthusiasm and immediancy toward this discovery. Our grandchildren will look porely on us for delaying this opportunity. Meaux

  2. Jason Stoddard says:

    Hello, Manoa.

  3. John says:

    “”And so, I ask, why are we not immediately dispatching probes to this star system to confirm? Although I live down in the Louisiana bayou’s, and thus a ‘primitive’, I find it difficult to beleive that there is not more enthusiasm and immediancy toward this discovery. Our grandchildren will look porely on us for delaying this opportunity. Meaux””

    The Bible does not say that there is Life outside of Earth…so, why bother looking for what is not to be found ?

  4. Paul Raven says:

    There’s a lot of things the Bible doesn’t say, John, many of which are true, some of which are not. One of many reasons that I personally don’t bother using a retrospectively collated work of allegorical fiction as a constraint upon my own ability to think for myself. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

    Incidentally, I don’t remember the bit in the Bible that talked about about leaving comments on websites, either. That said, I wasn’t paying very close attention at the time.

  5. John says:

    Do not confuse Aliens with Angels.

    2 Kings 19:35

    “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”

    If there ever does appear to ‘truely’ be extraressial beings visiting the earth, then i guarantee it is not ‘Alien’ life. But either a Satanic attack being launched on Planet Earth OR The rapture.

    As for your snide comments calling religion ‘fiction’…well ignorance is bliss isnt it ? 🙂

    have a nice day

  6. Denni says:

    Chill John, it’s now OK for Catholics to believe in aliens:

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0514/aliens.html

    Although I don’t quite see where angels come into any of this.

  7. Paul Raven says:

    “… ignorance is bliss isnt it ?”

    Precisely – which is why I only get annoyed with persons of faith when they evangelise at me. Believe what you will – I’m a pluralist, it makes no difference to me. But wave it in my face, and I’ll call it how I see it.

  8. Peter says:

    Anyway… about Alpha Centauri: I could have sworn that, only a couple of years ago, the conventional wisdom was that trinary systems were too inherently unstable – in terms of gravitational perturbations, crazy comet orbits and such – to harbor a viable Earth-like world. What’s changed?

  9. ryan says:

    the bible has nothing to do with any sort of extra solar discoveries. simply put, why are there not more comprehensive efforts underway to discover planets? i seem to remember something about a discovery of other planets orbiting alpha centauri b. why is there only speculation about this instead of solid info? we have the means and the drive… so what the heck is going on here? oh and come on… there isnt even solid reference to dinosaus in the bible besides the mention of leviathans. how could you quote that passage mr john? they found bacteria on mars which would be alien, would it not? go back to church

  10. Tomas Martin says:

    Six centuries ago religious people tried to shut up Galileo when he said the sun didn’t revolve around the Earth but I assume you’ve come to terms with that scientific discovery? If you didn’t like this post about a planet around our neighbouring star, John, I’m guessing you’re going to hate today’s post in which evolution is proved to be true…

    I think religion has its place. But science has its place too and God or Gods can be just as impressively powerful with science as against it. In fact, is a God who has created intricate physical laws for how the universe began, expanded with the slightest quantum variations being inflated into large-scale structure that condensed into galaxies and stars and planets, that then evolved life and intelligent life on at least one of these planets, is that God not more impressive than one who clicked his fingers and made everything happen in seven days?

  11. Angela says:

    Correction: the author is a woman and her name is Javiera Guedes, not Javier!

  12. Dean says:

    A suggestion to those of you “Christians” who are at war with science: Read “The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors” by Kersey Graves (A classic first published around 1875)

  13. Josh Evans says:

    There is a uk astrophysicist A. Ahad. He has sussed out the star Alpha Centauri B has a New Earth which he said is identical to our earth (the novelised theses of first ark to alpha centauri has more.)

  14. Josh Evans says:

    correction: that’s Abdul Ahad – who is a sci-fi novelist and astronomer (not astrophysicist, my bad)

  15. Brian says:

    Tomas Martin…good post. There is no way all of this universe is centered around Earth. We are a common speck amongst this massive Universe. We are stardust, elements of stars, comets, and asteroids. A natural way of creation.

    IF there is a creator, it is a Universal one and not a fictional character invented by humans way back in time when they just couldnt comprehend where all this came from. They thought it was magic, so there had to be a magician I guess.

    As for religion, too many different beliefs, too many rules, and cover ups and murders over time of millions, over what??? A belief??

    As for deep space travel…….I dont think we are even close to being ready, even for a neighboring star. Seen a show about a plasma engine which should be close if not finished for long travel through space. Once you are out that far there is no room for error or malfunction. Once you get past Pluto, you then have to travel three times that to get past the Kuiper Belt and the Ort Cloud. Sending back data will take longer and longer as you get out there as well. But at one point in time, we will have to travel or migrate into space when our Sun goes through its Red Giant phase before its end. Our star will eventually end life on this planet long before that any way, as it gradually warms to the point of evaporating our water completely.

    Peter…I think you are right about a three star system able to support life. There would be crazy gravitational forces in effect. The gamma rays, x-rays, ultra violet, and other elements would make for a deadly solar wind way more powerful than our sun emits. Their energy would be focused on each other as the more powerful star would be draining the others. Cant see life happening there.

    I hope we do the deep space movement, but in steps. First the Space Station, or two, or three so we can be ready to travel in large city sized ships. Sorry to blab on, but this topic could go on for a long time.

  16. D. Wayne Dworsky says:

    John and others who are concerned about planet finding efforts in nearby star systems: stellar travel involves astronomical distances. Alpha Centauri A is 4.3 light years from earth. In understandable terms, that is 25,000,000,000,000 (25 trillion) miles! Utilizing todays rocket propulsion systems, traveling at 60,000 mph, it would take 62,000 years to reach Alha Centauri. That’s why. The only way we may see deep space travel in the near future, say the next 1,000 years, will be if we can develop a new kind of propulsion, one that bends space, such as in science fiction (warp drives, etc.). But it is ever so exciting to speculate about it.

  17. dom says:

    personally i believe that religion may hold some fact about the way our universe was formed, however these facts are hidden within numerous symbolic stories, and just because it only talks about the formation of the earth doesnt mean others like the earth werent created, for example, i dont remember matthew or john talking abot mercury venus mars jupiter etc etc being made, maybe the fact that many cosmic names are used in the bible could be a giveaway or perhaps the bible was indeed written for the people of 400 yrs ago to enable then to gain a better understanding on where they lived. i personally believe scince and religion can work together to solve many of the unanswered questions of our society instead of it being a war.

  18. sue says:

    was drawn to check out Alpha Centauri, not knowing anything about the system am very interested in other possible Earth like planets out there, have always known intuitively there were many other lifeforms and possibilities in the Cosmos, not necessarily only on Earth like planets obviously. am not a scientist, astronomer, theologian or a philosopher, just aware of the immense (sadly inadequate word, but as the song says words are all we have!!!) aliveness and intelligent love of the Cosmos, don’t pretend to know how it all started but trust in the process!!!!!