New Earth-like habitable planet found orbiting nearest star

Edward Guinan, an astronomer at Villanova University, says when he first learned of this new planet a couple of months ago, he seriously doubted that it would have any chance of being habitable. It is said liquid water could exist on it and dream of astronomers could come true with follow-up observation.

Because Proxima b exists outside our solar system, it doesn't change our well-known roster of planets (and we know some of you are still rather upset over Pluto).

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star that is four-light years from the Solar System.

Because it is the closest - and it will forever be the closest because it orbits our closest stellar neighbor - Shkolnik said it is not unimaginable that we can send cameras, probes or some sort of spacecraft to the planet and have a look for ourselves. Without knowing how temperatures fluctuate throughout the day, it's hard to determine whether liquid water is maintained on the planet's surface.

What makes this planet, called Proxima b, unique is that it is rocky like Earth and could have liquid water on its surface. But fortunately, Proxima B has the sun that is also way cooler than that of ours, so it is most likely that it is located in the habitable zone that could sustain life.

Professor Richard Nelson, from Queen Mary, University of London - a member of the global team that announced the discovery in the journal Nature, said: "Finding a planet around the star which is the nearest to the Sun is a big event".

Computer models suggest the planet's temperature, with an atmosphere, could be "in the range of minus 30 Celsius (-22 Fahrenheit) on the dark side, and 30C (80F) on the light side", Reiners told journalists. Earth would be -4 degrees if it didn't have an atmosphere. Those light and dark faces could also have this positive to negative temperature range. Worden said he hopes they will launch by 2060.

One possible obstacle to life evolving and flourishing on the planet is the way it hugs its parent star. So unlike a gas ball such as Jupiter, this rocky planet has a surface that one could possibly stand on.

The findings are based on data collected over 16 years of working with European Southern Observatory telescopes in the north Chilean desert. It's in the southern sky, but it's too dim to see with the naked eye.

The cool star has a radius that is 14% of the sun's, a mass of about 12% of the sun's and a luminosity of.15% of the sun's.

This regular pattern repeats with a period of 11.2 days.

"We have found a planet around Proxima Centauri".

"The recent Pale Red Dot campaign has been about two years in the planning", he continued.

The professional star-gazers spent 60 consecutive days earlier this year looking for signs of gravitational pull on its host star, Proxima Centauri.

  • Zachary Reyes