Poof! The Planet Closest To Our Solar System Just Vanished
The disappearance of Alpha Centauri Bb raises questions for planet hunters looking for Earth-sized alien worlds.
Scientists just made a planet disappear. According to a new study, Alpha Centauri Bb, a world in the nearest star system to us, was merely a ghost in the data.
The planet, thought to be perhaps similar in mass to Earth, was hailed as a “landmark” when it was announced in 2012 in the journal Nature. The discovery got people excited about finding neighboring worlds that might harbor life in the Alpha Centauri system 4.3 light-years away—already home to science fiction characters such as the Transformers and the creatures of Avatar.
This particular alien world wouldn't have been a good place to look for life, though. It would have been roughly a tenth the distance to its star that Mercury