Oct. 17th, 2012

steorra: Jupiter's moon Europa (europa)
[personal profile] steorra
A piece of big astronomy news came out yesterday: An earth-sized planet has been discovered orbiting Alpha Centauri B, a relatively sun-like star (a bit smaller and fainter than the Sun) in the nearest star system to the Sun. The planet is not particularly earth-like, though, since it orbits the star in only about 3.2 days, and thus would be extremely hot.

I started to write a long entry talking about Alpha Centauri system the system and the discovery, but I think instead I'm going to link a few articles - there are many more that could easily be found - and talk a bit about some things I noticed in reading the original paper.

News stories )

Links to the original paper )

I gave the paper a quick reading, and while some of it was too technical for me to understand, I was able to follow the basics of it. And I was once again amazed by the amounts of information that astronomers are able to squeeze out of apparently tiny amounts of data - in this case, the spectrum of a star observed repeatedly over time.

Details )

Here's an article that talks about some of the noise sources in non-academic terms.

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