A recent discovery has revealed that a new planet, which is approximately the same size as our planet Earth, has been found orbiting around the Sun.
On Wednesday, European and British researchers who joined hands to find out details about Proxima b – the new planet, elaborated on the discovery by writing in the Journal Nature.
According to the scientists, Proxima b is some 4 light years away from our planet. They have also indicated that it is near by the red little star named Proxima Centauri. The experts have still to figure out if it is possible to live on that planet and also want to know if life already exists there or not.
So this is kind of a big deal. Astronomers have just discovered a new planet orbiting the closest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri. The planet is called Proxima b and orbits the star every 11.2 days. It has a mass that is estimated to be 1.3 times the Earth’s. Unlike the Earth, though, it’s only 7.3 million kilometers from the star—much closer than Earth to the Sun—but Proxima is so faint and cool it receives about two-thirds the amount of light and heat the Earth does. Essentially that means that it’s in Proxima’s habitable zone which opens the possibility of liquid water on its surface. Researchers estimate that if the planet has an atmosphere (which isn’t confirmed), it may be between 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit on the surface. Without an atmosphere, it could be -22 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. To put that in perspective, Earth would be -4 degrees if it didn’t have an atmosphere. Before we go all Interstellar and have Matthew McConaughey check it out, though, it is 40 trillion km away, which means even the fastest ship would still take tens of thousands of years to get there! (Illustration: ESO) #astronomy #proximab #science #space #universe
The scientists have been working to find out more about this planet for 16 years. They shared that the initial information about the planet was attained with the help of European Southern Observatory telescope which is located in Chile. It determined the movement of light from this star, which ensured the existence of this planet.
On August 24th 2016 scientists announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet orbiting the star nearest our Sun. Named Proxima b, the planet is in a "temperate" zone compatible with the presence of liquid water, a key ingredient for life. This photo made available by the European Southern Observatory on August 24th 2016 shows an image of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The blue halo around Alpha Centauri AB is a result of the photographic process, the star is really pale yellow. Credit: AFP/European Southern Observatory/Davide De Martin/Mahdi Zamani #space #ESO #Proximab #astronomy
So far, the analysis of the researchers has dictated that Proxima b has a mass of 1.3 times the Earth. It spins around its star after every 11 days. The researchers believe that life is possible on this planet because it is not too hot nor too cold. It is highly probable that water is also present on Proxima b. Astronomer at the Queen Mary University in London and the head of this research Guillem Anglada- Escude explained about their discovery.
He referred to their research as the “experience of a lifetime” while a co-researcher Angsgar Reiners from Germany mentioned: “It is not unlikely that this planet is quite similar to Earth. The spectacular finding about this, of course, is that this system is so close to our Earth and solar system.” He further explained that we are not sure if the planet contains water or suitable atmosphere for a human to survive. But we believe that “the existence is plausible” on Proxima b.