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Proxima Centauri B – Closest Planet with Potential for Life?

The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS

Recently, we began hearing rumors that an Earth-like planet had been found within the habitable zone of the next-nearest star to us, Proxima Centauri. According to the European Southern Observatory and other institutions, those statements have been confirmed.  Yes, there is a new planet, like Earth, within its star’s habitable zone, and relatively close to us.

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star and orbits its parent star every 11 days with a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface.

In the video below, we can see where this planet resides within the area known as the Habitable Zone.  It’s not too close to its star so that the potential water would boil away, and it’s not too far away so that all the water would freezes.

Proxima Centauri B’s mass is around 1.3 times Earth’s, meaning it could be rocky.  But before we get too excited it should be noted that Proxima Centauri is a very active star with active solar flares, dousing the planet with much higher amounts of X-ray radiation.  This star might’ve blasted off all the planets water long ago.

However, if we were to visit Proxima Centarui B and land on its surface we would see that it would have a red sky.  It lies just 4.7 million miles from its host star, and by comparison, Earth lies 93 million miles from the Sun.

It’s not known right now if the planet has an atmosphere but, in time, we will know more.

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