ESO Discovers Planet Orbiting Alpha Centauri B

OFF GRID SKY: The ESO (European Southern Observatory) has discovered a planet around Alpha Centauri B!!!

ESO Discovers Planet Orbiting Alpha Centauri B

Now this is BIG and AWESOME news! Though not directly related to our Off Grid World Community, we hope to have a small observatory built in the community to view the stars and teach people about astronomy.

I’m personally a HUGE astronomy enthusiast and have been studying for more than 5 years. Finding a planet orbiting our nearest neighboring star Alpha Centauri is big news in the astronomy community.

So far NASA’s Kepler (space telescope) Mission has found more than 2321 planets in a small section of sky.

We can now add one more planet to that number.

European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting a star in the Alpha Centauri system — the nearest to Earth. It is also the lightest exoplanet ever discovered around a star like the Sun. The planet was detected using the HARPS instrument on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The results will appear online in the journal Nature on 17 October 2012. ~ESO (European Southern Observatory

But wait, there’s more…

2321 PLANETS FOUND IN TINY SECTION OF SKY!

Look at this image. I mean really LOOK at it and see it for what it means to science, astronomy and ultimately us as human beings.

Milky Way Kepler field of view

Milky Way Kepler field of view

This entire image by itself is a tiny section of the viewable sky. Now look at the tiny section labeled “Kepler Field of View” (FOV). The FOV is less than 5% of the viewable area of this photograph.

Think about that for a second. The Kepler field of view is actually only 1/400th of the entire viewable night sky, and they have increased the number of planet candidates from 1235 to 2321! And all this in less than 3 years!

Our universe just got a whole lot smaller.

Bravo Kepler!

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For more information about the Kepler mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/kepler