European’s astronomers have announced the discovery of a planet having the same size as the Earth orbiting in the Alpha Centauris solar system, the nearest “neighbor” star to our planet.
The planet was discovered by analyzing the fluctuations observed in that solar system with telescopes (La Silla Observatory in Chile). Research’ results are published in the prestigious scientific journal “Nature”.
Unfortunately, the planet is very close to its star, suggesting that it is a solid planet with a surface too hot to host life’ forms. However, the researchers hope that this solar system contain other planets.
“This is the first planet with a mass comparable to the mass of our planet Earth which found near a Sun-like star” explained researcher Stéphane Udry (Geneva Observatory).
“The orbit of the planet is too close to it star so it is impossible to host life-forms common to us, but there may be more planets in this solar system” added astronomer.”
The system “Alpha Centauri” is visible to the naked eye, is the third brightest star. It is located at 4.37 years-light of sun which means a trip to this system carried out at nearly the speed of light would take longer than 5 years. Using the fastest vehicles designed by mankind so far, a trip to this planet would take 20,000 years (so don’t be exited yet )!
“This result is a major step toward finding a “twin Earth”. We live in an extraordinary time,” said the researcher Xavier Dumusque.
Researchers hope that the methods that allow the detection of this planet to lead to the identification of other “Earth-like” planets that orbit their stars in the Goldilocks zone (zone that would allow the development of life forms).