News Picks : Planet sighting near Alpha Centauri B shown to be just a data blip
06 January 2016
Forbes: Although observers announced in 2012 that an Earth-sized planet had been discovered orbiting Alpha Centauri B, researchers now say it was merely a “ghost” in the data. According to Vinesh Rajpaul, lead author of the current study, the error arose from the method used. Because planets cannot be observed directly, their presence is instead inferred by other means, such as the gravitational pull they exert on their parent star. However, the astronomers couldn’t monitor the star continuously, so their data were incomplete and led them to make a false conclusion.