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Hubble Captured an Image of Alpha Centauri, Home of the New Habitable Planet

Aug 30, 2016 07:26 AM EDT
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NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope captured the best image of Alpha Centauri so far.
(Photo : NASA via Getty Images)

Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth has a newly found identity, and that is the home of a potentially habitable planet, Proxima B. As the scientific community turns their head to Alpha Centauri, NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an image of the star system on the spotlight.

The Hubble Space Telescope had successfully taken the best image of Alpha Centauri. Alpha Centauri is located in the constellation of Centaurus (The Centaur) at about 4.3 light-years away. The system has two stars Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B and the now very popular Alpha Centauri C, a small red dwarf also known as Proxima Centauri.

Proxima Centauri is the star that the newly discovered potentially habitable planet orbits. Last Aug. 25, the European Space Observatory (ESO) announced that they have found clear evidence that a potentially habitable planet orbits Proxima B.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope had already managed to capture the stunning image of Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, the binary system in the nearest star system to Earth. The image was captured using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), the most used instrument aboard the Hubble Space Telescope during its first 13 years. To produce the clearest image of Alpha Centauri, observations were carried out at optical and near-infrared wavelengths.

Based on data gathered, ESA says that the binary stars in Alpha Centauri have different properties; Alpha Centauri A is a stellar type and is slightly bigger while Alpha Centaury B is a K1-type star is a bit smaller. But the currently most significant star from the system is the red dwarf star called Proxima B.

Because of the discovery, more scientific probes are now geared towards Alpha Centauri. "Because these two stars are, together with their sibling Proxima Centauri, the closest to Earth, they are among the best studied by astronomers. And they are also among the prime targets in the hunt for habitable exoplanets," an ESA official said in a statement published by SpaceTelescope.

The Alpha Centauri star system is the nearest to Earth that is why it is the most studied by astronomers and the nearest candidate to find habitable exoplanets.

 

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