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Exoplanets

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illustration of the surface of Proxima b

A WORLD NEXT DOOR  Proxima Centauri casts a reddish glow over the surface of Proxima b (illustrated), the closest exoplanet to Earth, while two companion stars, Alpha Centauri A and B, appear as bright pinpricks of light.

Kepler telescope

QUITE A CACHE  Four tiny rocky worlds snuggled up to a cool star (illustrated) are a small sample from the Kepler telescope’s latest haul of exoplanets.

Altair

STAR SPIN  Rapidly twirling stars such as Altair (shown; interferometer image, left) have an equatorial bulge that makes them emit more light from their poles than their equator, which could create strange seasons on any orbiting planets.

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