The data collected by Chandra revealed Alpha Centauri A
, which is the near twin of our Sun in every way, even age, emits a lower dose of x-ray radiation compared to that received by planets sitting in close proximity of our Sun.
But Alpha Centauri A
is also very important to astronomers: almost a twin to the Sun in mass, temperature, chemical composition and age, it provides an ideal natural laboratory to compare other characteristics of the two stars.
"There could well be an Earth-size planet in that Goldilocks sweet spot, not too cold and not too hot, making Alpha Centauri a
compelling target to search for intelligent life."
So finding the planet's signature in the star's wobbles meant the team needed to carefully filter out other sources of stellar variability such as star spots, bulges on the star's surface and gravitational interactions with Alpha Centauri A
The orbit of the other bright component of the double star, Alpha Centauri A
, keeps it hundreds of times further away, but it would still be a very brilliant object in the planet's skies.
Unlike the Sun and Alpha Centauri A
, its surface doesn't vibrate--making it ideal for an extremely sensitive radial-velocity planet hunt.
The Alpha Centauri system, located roughly 4.3 light-years from Earth, consists of three stars - Alpha Centauri A
, B, and Proxima Centauri.
It is part of a triple system consisting of a pair of Sun-like stars, Alpha Centauri A
and B, and a more distant and faint red companion, Proxima Centauri.
She found that Alpha Centauri A
, the system featured in Avatar, would be an excellent target.
Are the three stars that constitute the Alpha Centauri star system - Alpha Centauri A
, B, and Proxima Centauri - part of one gravitationally-bound triple system?
Another group, Larry DeWarf, Edward Guinan, and Jenny Carton (Villanova University), found that the coronal X-ray emission from the most massive star in the Alpha Centauri triple system, Alpha Centauri A
, has decreased eightyfold in just the past five years.
It consists of two stars similar to the Sun that form a relatively tight binary, Alpha Centauri A
and B, and a red dwarf known as Proxima Centauri that lies roughly 15,000 astronomical units from the main pair.
"If such planets exist in the Alpha Centauri A
and B system ...
"We got our Classic winner with Alpha Centauri a
few weeks ago but there are a few other things I'd like to tick off the list.