Contact: Barbara K.Kennedy
Caption: A pair of newly discovered stars is the third-closest star system to the sun and the closest discovered since 1916. At 6.5 light years, it is so close that Earth's television transmissions from 2006 are now arriving there. It is an excellent hunting ground for planets because it is very close to Earth and, in the distant future, it might be one of the first destinations for manned expeditions outside our solar system. The discovery was made by Kevin Luhman, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State University and a researcher in Penn State's Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds. This diagram illustrates the locations of the star systems that are closest to the Sun. The year when each star was discovered to be a neighbor of the Sun is indicated. The binary system WISE J104915.57-531906 is the third nearest system to the Sun, and the closest one found in a century.
Credit: Janella Williams, Penn State University
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Related news release: The closest star system found in a century