A new study involving long-term monitoring of Alpha Centauri by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicates that any planets orbiting the two brightest stars are likely not being pummeled by large amounts of X-ray radiation from their host stars. This is important for the viability of life in the nearest star system outside the Solar System. Chandra data from May 2nd, 2017 are seen in the pull-out, which is shown in context of a visible-light image taken from the ground of the Alpha Centauri system and its surroundings. Alpha Centauri is a triple star system located just over four light years, or about 25 trillion miles, from Earth. While this is a large distance in terrestrial terms, it is three times closer than the next nearest Sun-like star. Credits: Optical: Zdenek Bardon; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Colorado/T. Ayres et al.

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards

Chandra Scouts Nearest Star System for Possible Hazards In humanity’s search for life outside our Solar System, one of the best places scientists have considered…

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Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000 stars that the Kepler spacecraft is monitoring. NASA/Kepler Mission/Dana Berry, CC BY

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in the search for distant planets

Goodbye Kepler, hello TESS: Passing the baton in the search for distant planets Imagined view from Kepler-10b, a planet that orbits one of the 150,000…

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Illustration of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Telescope (TESS) in front of a lava planet orbiting its host star. TESS will identify thousands of potential new planets for further study and observation. Credits: NASA GSFC

NASA Prepares to Launch Next Mission to Search Sky for New Worlds

NASA Prepares to Launch Next Mission to Search Sky for New Worlds NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) is undergoing final preparations in Florida for…

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This is an artist’s impression of the TRAPPIST-1 system, showcasing all seven planets in various phases. When a planet transits across the disk of the red dwarf host star, as two of the planets here are shown to do, it creates a dip in the star’s light that can be detected from Earth. Also during such transits astronomers are able to study the potential atmospheres of these planets. Credit: NASA

Hubble delivers first insight into atmospheres of potentially habitable planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1

Hubble delivers first insight into atmospheres of potentially habitable planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1 An international team of astronomers has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to…

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An artist’s rendition depicts a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the upper atmosphere. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Mars Mission Sheds Light on Habitability of Distant Planets

Mars Mission Sheds Light on Habitability of Distant Planets How long might a rocky, Mars-like planet be habitable if it were orbiting a red dwarf…

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This artist’s impression shows the temperate planet Ross 128 b, with its red dwarf parent star in the background. This planet, which lies only 11 light-years from Earth, was found by a team using ESO’s unique planet-hunting HARPS instrument. The new world is now the second-closest temperate planet to be detected after Proxima b. It is also the closest planet to be discovered orbiting an inactive red dwarf star, which may increase the likelihood that this planet could potentially sustain life. Ross 128 b will be a prime target for ESO’s Extremely Large Telescope, which will be able to search for biomarkers in the planet's atmosphere. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

Closest Temperate World Orbiting Quiet Star Discovered

Closest Temperate World Orbiting Quiet Star Discovered A temperate Earth-sized planet has been discovered only 11 light-years from the Solar System by a team using…

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This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image to the upper-right of Proxima itself. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit

An Earth-like Atmosphere May Not Survive Proxima b’s Orbit Proxima b, an Earth-size planet right outside our solar system in the habitable zone of its…

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This artist's concept shows a hypothetical planet covered in water around the binary star system of Kepler-35A and B. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Earth-Sized ‘Tatooine’ Planets Could Be Habitable

Earth-Sized ‘Tatooine’ Planets Could Be Habitable With two suns in its sky, Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine in “Star Wars” looks like a parched, sandy…

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Have we really discovered other “Earth-like” planets orbiting around other stars? Understanding what we do and do not know about exoplanets is the key to answering this question. ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger/Reuters

Until we get better tools, excited reports of ‘habitable planets’ need to come back down to Earth

Until we get better tools, excited reports of ‘habitable planets’ need to come back down to Earth Joshua Tan, Universidad Católica de Chile In 1950,…

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Artist's impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Image via ESO/M. Kornmesser

Another Earth? Planet found in habitable zone around nearest star

Source:             European Southern Observatory (ESO) Summary:        Astronomers have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the…

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