UFO Hunt: Australian Telescope Begins Probe On Neighboring Stars For Signs Of Alien Life

First Posted: Nov 21, 2016 04:10 AM EST

For decades, scientists and astronomers have been investigating if there are truly extraterrestrial beings in the universe. There have been various evidence and even conspiracy theories on the existence of alien civilizations. Now, the Australians have joined the hunt as their Parkes radio telescope, one of the largest on Earth, has started its probe on the Sun's proverbial next-door neighbor, the Proxima Centauri.

The 210-feet massive telescope has directed its focus on Proxima Centauri, a part of the three-star system known as Alpha Centauri and is the closest known star to the solar system. The Proxima Centauri is about four lightyears away.

"The Parkes Radio Telescope is a superb instrument, with a rich history," said Pete Worden, Chairman of Breakthrough Prize Foundation, in a press release by the Breakthrough Initiatives.

"We're very pleased to be collaborating with CSIRO to take Listen to the next level," he added.

The $100-million project called Breakthrough Listen, which aims to detect alien life near the Earth, employed three telescopes for its purpose. Parkes is the third telescope, while the other two were the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory in Northen California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia.

Newly Found Earth?

Aside from the groundbreaking investigation of alien life in the new star found, astronomers have detected a new planet orbiting around it.

According to Herald Review, on the other hand, researchers have found a planet just as the size of Earth orbiting Proxima Centauri. Though this planet, dubbed as Proxima B, has not been viewed directly, the astronomers found that the star, Proxima Centauri, wobbled in a predictable pattern, indicating the presence of Proxima B's orbital period.

Interestingly, the scientists also found that the planet was very close to its star, even closer than Mercury is to the Sun. However, they categorized the planet within the star's habitable zone, a distance from it where liquid water could exist.

The star is about one tenth the size of the Earth's Sun. Thus, it is not as hot as the Sun and does not produce much heat. The surface temperature of Proxima Centauri is roughly 3,500 degrees compared to the Sun's surface temperature of 10,000 degrees.

If Proxima B is about the same size of Earth, it might be similar in composition and perhaps has an atmosphere, too. Is this a new planet that could sustain life in the near future?

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