by Mike Wall, SPACE.com Senior Writer
Date: 03 June 2013 Time: 02:03 PM ET
The stars will align for planet hunters twice in the next three years, allowing them to probe the nearest star to our own solar system for Earth-size alien worlds.
Proxima Centauri, which lies just 4.24 light-years from Earth, will pass in front of background stars in both October 2014 and February 2016. Astronomers should scrutinize Proxima during these two periods, looking for subtle light shifts that could reveal the presence of close-orbiting planets, a new study reports.
"This is an opportunity to determine the mass of Proxima, and also detect planets up to 4 AU [astronomical units] around Proxima Centauri," Kailash Sahu, an astronomer with the Space Telescope Institute in Baltimore, Md., told reporters today (June 3) at the 222nd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Indianapolis.
More - Link >>> http://www.space.com/21409-proxima-centauri-alien-planet-search.html
NASA News Release: "NASA's Hubble Will Use Rare Stellar Alignment to Hunt for Planets" -
Link >>> http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/jun/HQ_13-163_Hubble_Microlensing.html
Source: Space.com .
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