Quadruple Suns and an Alpha Centauri Exoplanet

Well hasn’t this been an interesting week for discoveries, first a solar system with four suns was identified and now a planet in the closest star system to our own, Alpha Centauri, has been discovered.

The quadruple star system is composed of a pair of stars orbiting a common centre of mass which are in turn orbited by another set of binary stars. Additionally the first set of stars are also orbited by a planet that is slightly larger than Neptune that has been name PH1 after the Planet Hunter site that it was spotted through. This system (Kepler-35b) is around 5,000 light-years away.

The other big discovery this week was of the closest exoplanet, found orbiting Alpha Centauri B (the smaller of the Alpha Centauri pair), the planet has approximately 1.1 times the Earths mass and is roughly the same size. Due to the planets proximity to its sun (around 6 million miles, even closer than Mercury to our own sun) it has a surface temperature of 2,200 degrees.

Alpha Centauri Artists Concept

Image credit: NASA

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15 comments

  1. Now we know that Alpha Centauri B has at least one planet around it. So how about Alpha Centauri A and C? And finally, anymore planets around Alpha Centauri B?

  2. As a SciFi writer I created a planet called Thera that is located “somewhere in the Centauri sector of space”. Finding out that an exoplanet has been discovered in the Centauri system is exciting to say the least! Even if it isn’t suitable for human colonization, right now.
    Anyway, my story (“Eterrnity Can Wait) is situated 4,000 years in the furure where a planet has been colonized by humans.
    However I still get excited at new discoveries in our universe and often check the latest space news.
    Thanks for keeping us all informed!

  3. Wow! this realy sounds complicated but amazing. Though my area of research is on sub atomic quantum scale, but its good to know this.

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