Near neighbours?

Reports here and here (summarised really well, as always, by Wired here) of intriguing results from some computer simulations, by a researcher at the University of California, of the formation of one of our closest stellar neighbours: Alpha Centauri B (the largest of the three stars in that system). Confirmation of the presence of a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B will require a couple of years of intensive observation.


Earth-like planets orbiting our nearest celestial neighbour are a distinct possibility: simulations of the first 200 million years in the life of the primary star indicated, under all the tested initial conditions, the formation of rocky planets within a ‘Goldilocks’ zone (not too hot, not too cold) where liquid water might form and remain on a planet’s surface.

Persistent liquid water is a necessary condition for life. Which raises the interesting question: if the general conditions for life have been found on the very nearest stars, can we not assume that they are being met with regularity elsewhere?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s