Traces of a second planet circling around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri
The red dwarf Proxima Centauri is considered the second closest star to the Earth after the Sun. It belongs to the Alpha Centauri star system, and the distance to our planet is 4.2 light years. In 2016, astronomers have learned that the planet Proxima Centauri b is spinning around this star, its dimensions are comparable to Earth. Now scientists have come up with the assumption that a second planet of a larger size and extremely low temperature is located next to it.
At the moment, researchers have no direct evidence of its existence, but the HARPS data of the telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile hint at this. Conclusions about the existence of the planet were made on the basis of fluctuations of Proxima Centauri, which suggest that two objects revolve around it. The strength of oscillation reveals their size, and the period – the trajectory of motion.
Taking into account all the collected data, scientists have assumed that the mass of the second planet exceeds the earth in six times. Unlike the planet Proxima Centauri b, the second object is located far outside the star's habitable zone, at a distance of about 1.5 astronomical units. The temperature on its surface is -234 degrees Celsius, but only if it is assumed that it is a black body, heated only by a star.
At the moment, the researchers intend to find more evidence of the existence of a second planet. If they prove it, then with high probability it will be called Proxima c and the status of super-Earth.
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