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Exoplanetary Scratchpad

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Alpha Centauri is also known as Rigil Kentaurus. A is also known as HD 128620 and HR 5459, B is HD 128621 and HR 5460, and C is Proxima Centauri. It is the nearest star system to the Sun. Contains a yellow dwarf star a little bigger than the Sun and an orange star a little smaller orbiting each other orbiting each other about the distance Uranus is from the Sun (varies from Saturn like to Neptune like), as well as a distant Red Dwarf companion Proxima that may or may not be orbiting the other two. Proxima, a small flare star, was discovered in 1915 by Robert Ines, who named it. Long suspected planet around Proxima found not to exist. As Proxima passes in front of two stars (once in 2014, again in 2016), any planets within 5 AU should be detectable via microlensing using the HST. It is known that no planets of Neptune sized mass exist within 1 AU and no Jovians with periods up to 1000 days, or transiting planets exist. First planet discovered is an Earth-massed rocky-iron planet with no atmosphere at epistellar distances around the orange dwarf star B found by HARPS. This is the least massive planet found around a sunlike star. The planet was informally and controversially named by Uwingu during a fund raising naming contest Albertus Alauda, after a participant's grandfather. Earthlike planets are not detectable in the habitable zone with present radial velocity methods. Technique for detection of planet is a source of doubt for some and it has yet to be independently verified. A team thought they might have detected a transit of this planet, but further observations showed the timing wasn't consistent. It is possible that a second further out (20.4 day period) Earth-sized planet is altering the transit times of the first. A cheap crowdfunded satellite devoted to studying this star could confirm the planets. The star was observed to be a good candidate to host a "super Habitable" planet, which would have 25% more gravity than the Earth, shallow seas, flatter landscape, higher atmospheric pressure, and the 6 BYO star would be stable for life longer. Stellar fingerprinting suggests a high probability that a planet orbits star A, due to dearth of Iron around star. Russian astronomers announced the detection of a second planet orbiting the binary pair at 80 AU with a 100 year period. The stars in the system will become markedly closer together in 2016, making observations much more difficult and one follow up failed to find it. The system is the first target for the European Cheops exoplanet space telescope. The Pale Red Dot project is dedicated to finding a planet around Proxima using dopplar spectrometry.

My ThoughtsEdit

It would be reeeally sweet if planet Ba turned out to be real, and even sweeter if the transit timing detected planet were real. Do we really need a satellite dedicated to observe this one star? A fleet of satellites observing a bunch of stars would be pretty neat. The relative positions of the two stars makes it so that you can only study it well in certain seasons. I hope we don't run into a bad season before we're able to confirm what we want to know. Just don't call the planet Albertus Alauda. I'm all for doing a nod to this name though, something kinda similar which is officially named after something else.

Alpha Centauri System Web PagesEdit

Alpha Centauri System In the NewsEdit

Initial Target for Proposed ExoplanetSat (Dec 2011)Edit

Stellar Fingerprinting Suggests Possibility of Earthlike Planet Around Star A (Oct 2012)Edit

Hot Rocky Planet Discovered Around Star B(Oct 2012)Edit

Potential Target for Project Icarus Interstellar Exploration Mission (Oct 2012)Edit

Top Target for Cheops (Oct 2012)Edit

Cool Layer Found in Star A's Atmosphere (Feb 2013)Edit

Uwingu Informal Naming Contest (Mar 2013)Edit

Some Doubts on Planet (May 2013)Edit

Star Occultation Allows Microlense Search for Proxima Planets (Jun 2013)Edit

Star B A Good Place for a Super Habitable Planet (Feb 2014)Edit

Planet Ab Not Detected (Apr 2014)Edit

Star A Likely Harbors Rocky Planets (Aug 2014)Edit

Second Planet Detected by Russians (Sep 2014)Edit

Cannot find a second news source for this announcement

Evidence Planet Orbit b Not Viewed Face On, Put Limits on Mass (Mar 2015)Edit

Transit Timing Variation Reveals a Second Planet? (Apr 2015)Edit

How To Find Planets Around Binaries (Jan 2016)Edit

Pale Red Dot Hunts for Planets Around Proxima (Jan 2016)Edit

See AlsoEdit

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