In the southern constellation of Centaurus, orbiting the Alpha Centauri B star, is the exoplanet Alfa Centauri Bb. The image shows an artistic recreation of this extrasolar planet that is 4.37 light years from Earth.
Alfa Centauri Bb was discovered on October 16, 2012 by Portuguese astrophysicist Xavier Dumusque and his colleagues at the University of Geneva. It is located at a distance of its star of six million kilometers, and has a very fast translation movement, about 3.2 days. The current distance to its star, Alfa Centauri B, makes life completely impossible in the exoplanet.
The surface temperature has been calculated to be approximately 1,200 degrees Celsius. According to astronomers, Alfa Centauri Bb is covered by heat-melted materials, much like lava. Its star, Alfa Centauri B, is an orange dwarf, somewhat older than the Sun and with a very similar stellar activity.
The exoplanet Alfa Centauri Bb was discovered thanks to the HARPS spectrograph, located in the La Silla Observatory, north of Chile, next to the Atacama desert. It uses the radial velocity system, which allows detecting in its sun some strange movement that can be attributed to the presence of some planet.
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