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Beyond our solar system

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Science Middle School High

Just Beyond Our Solar System New Planet Detected

Gravity keeps our feet on the ground, it creates a curve ball, and it can also be used to find new planets. The star at the center of our solar system maintains life on Earth and its gravitational pull creates the orbit of planets. But our sun is just one of many stars in an ever expanding universe. Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to our solar system and new technology is allowing us to better understand our neighbor. Observations of Alpha Centauri date back to 1592 but it wasn’t until 2012 that astronomers in Chile were able to identify a planet orbiting one of the stars in Alpha Centauri because of its gravitational wobble. Listen to learn more about the properties and potential of this new planet.

Space Systems Earth and Space Science

Story Length: 2:34

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National Public Radio © 2012 National Public Radio, Inc. Used with the permission of NPR. All rights reserved.

AIR DATE: 10/17/2012


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