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...
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!
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