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Re: Speculation Re Planet Orbiting Alpha Centauri 1

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Posted by Dima Vedeneev/">Dima Vedeneev on November 5, 1997 12:11:18 UTC

: : I'm a complete novice to astronomy but am interested in some "expert" opinions for some fiction I am considering writing. What I'd like to know is whether its possible that an inhabitable (by humans) planet might orbit Alpha Centauri 1 in such a way that it actually passes between Alpha Cent. 1 & Alpha Cent. 2, during its year. Is that possible and if it is, what might conditions be like on such a planet? I do not know how close together the stars of the Alpha Centauri system are to one another but I assume there is plenty of room for a planet to orbit one of them? I'm looking for feasible stuff for the imagination here. : : Thanks.

: No way can a planet survive in the Centauri system, : there are three stars about couple hundred AU's from : each other, their gravitational pulls would neither : make the planet collide with a star or gain speed : and escape into space. If there is a planet, it could : be a gas giant like Jupiter. I suggest you use stars : like 51 Pegasi or 47 Ursae Majoris, they are stars that : have been proven to have planets.

: Your speculation on the subject is false, as it is quite : possible for a planet to exist in the system. However, : this body will not be able to have an orbit around both of : the stars. Alpha Centauri 'A' has an apparent magnitude of only : 0.33, and Alpha Centauri 'B' has one of 1.70. This : suggests that the stars are both quite young. : If you are looking for a Star in the Centauri system, i : personaly would suggest Proxima Centauri, as it seems to be : more likely that a heavenly body would exist there : : magnitude is 11.3 : Suggesting that it is quite an old M-class star.

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