Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad News for Those Looking for Planets at Alpha Centauri

Paul Gilster of Centauri Dreams reports on new scientific findings that suggest that planets would have a very difficult time forming more than about half an AU out from α Centauri A.

The problem is that the interaction of the relatively-close stars in the α Centauri system would have caused planetessimals (the large rocks that combine to form planets) to accelerate to speeds that would have precluded combining upon impact. Paul has the technical details, if you're in to that sort of thing.

So bad news if (like Paul) you were hoping for habitable, friendly planets in α Centauri... this research makes it less likely that they'll be found there.

1 comment:

gilster said...

The good thing, of course, is that Alpha Centauri B, which looks promising in many ways for inner planets, isn't affected by the Centauri A work. So don't give up on interesting Alpha Centauri planets yet! We'll be talking about the third in the trio, Proxima Centauri, and its planetary possibilities later this week.