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FINDS Exo-Earths

Are there super-Earth or Earth-sized planets in orbit around Alpha Centauri A or B?

We can find out for $33,000—or $1,650 a night.

To view Alpha Centauri the telescope must be in the southern hemisphere for Debra Fisher and our FINDS Exo-earths team, so we need to rent time at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile

Please make a donation to sponsor as much telescope time as you can to study the mysteries of Alpha Centauri! The Planetary Society is hunting for Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars...

FINDS Exo-Earths

The Planetary Society had teamed up with planet hunters Debra Fischer of Yale University and Geoff Marcy of the University of California at Berkeley to help with the quest to find other "Earths," other worlds like our own, elsewhere in our galaxy.

The project is called FINDS Exo-Earths (which stands for Fiber-optic Improved Next generation Doppler Search for Exo-Earths).

This high-end optical system was installed on the 3-meter telescope at the Lick Observatory and dramatically increased discoveries of smaller exoplanets and has been playing a crucial role in verifying Earth-sized planet candidates from the Kepler planet-hunter mission.

This is exactly the kind of project the Society has always excelled at. It's a small, vital effort, overlooked and under-valued by the space community's "Powers That Be." And we can see that it offers an incredible cost-benefit ratio.

Help The Planetary Society support the hunt for Exoplanets:

Donate to the FINDS Exo-Earths today!

Project Updates

Intro Astronomy 2014. Class 11: Exoplanets and Solar System Origin and Formation

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/25 04:30 CDT

Learn about the formation and origin of the Solar System and go beyond our neighborhood to investigate exoplanets (planets around other stars) in this video of class 11 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.

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Update on the search for planets in the Alpha Centauri system

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2014/04/04 10:29 CDT | 2 comments

Update from Debra Fischer and her team on the intriguing results of their observations of the main Alpha Centauri stars, as well as future plans.

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Alpha Centauri Planet Hunt Update

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/10/15 11:27 CDT | 2 comments

An update from Yale’s Debra Fischer about the Alpha Centauri planet hunt, partially sponsored by The Planetary Society, as well as her team’s efforts to remove “noise” from parent stars to help find exoplanets.

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Upgraded Alpha Centauri Planet Search Underway

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2013/07/26 04:32 CDT

The Planetary Society sponsored Alpha Centauri planet search started using a newly upgraded system in May. Here is a quick update including info from project leader Debra Fischer from Yale about their new system.

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First Planet Discovered in Alpha Centauri System

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/10/17 07:22 CDT | 12 comments

European astronomers have made the first planetary discovery in the closest-to-Earth Alpha Centauri star system. Here is some information about the discovery, and insights from Yale Astronomer Debra Fischer, who leads another Alpha Centauri planet search partially supported by The Planetary Society.

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Planets around Alpha Centauri?

Posted by Bruce Betts on 2012/04/24 12:03 CDT | 2 comments

Do planets circle our closest stellar neighbors, the system loved by science fiction: Alpha Centauri? We don’t know. But, Debra Fischer, Julien Spronck, and their colleagues at Yale University, in part with Planetary Society support, are trying to find out.

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A possible nine-planet system

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla on 2012/04/06 04:06 CDT | 1 comment

Someone on Twitter pointed me to a paper recently posted to ArXiv titled "Evidence for 9 planets in the HD 10180 system." If the (tentative) conclusion holds up, HD 10180 will be the first exoplanetary system known to have more planets than our own.

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FINDS: One Step Closer to Faraway Earths

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2011/04/01 12:00 CDT

Amir Alexander explains more about the FINDS Exo-Earths project and how it will help planet hunters detect distant Earths in the depths of space.

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FINDS Exo-Earths Starts Up: Testing the Prototype

Posted by Debra Fischer on 2009/10/30 12:00 CDT | 2 comments

The prototype that Julien constructed in the lab was taken to Lick Observatory, and we had our first-light run with the fiber in July.

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The Planetary Society and the Search for Extrasolar Planets

Posted by Amir Alexander on 2005/10/27 12:00 CDT

Almost since it was founded in 1980, The Planetary Society has been there for the search for other worlds.

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Section Highlights

How Does Finds Exo-Earths Work

When planet hunters train their telescopes on the stars, they usually aren't looking for an actual visual image of any planets. The distances are simply too vast. Rather, they seek evidence of those distant planets based on the behavior of the light from the stars themselves.

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