Yesterday in my blog on earth-like planets and potential civilizations in space I touched on the discovery of a rocky planet in the orbit of our close neighbour, Alpha Centauri B. Here are a few facts.
The planet is about the size of earth but is travels fast, circling its star in just 3.24 days. For comparison, Mercury's orbit lasts 88 days.
The planet is much closer to its star than the earth is, at a distance of just about six million kilometers,compared to Mercury which is about 46 million kilometers from our sun at its nearest point of its orbit. The new planet therefore must be hellishly hot.
The search is on for other rocky planets in the habitable zone that could support life, including looking for more planets around Alpha centauri.
I have no official involvement at all with the Planetary Society, a society based in Pasadena. However I know they do admirable work so I hope they won't mind me giving them a plug. If you are interested in the search for new earth-like planets you may wish to visit their web site and perhaps even consider joining the Planetary Society or giving them a donation.
I am told that just $20 US will purchase for them six minutes rental time on a telescope to study Alpha centauri.