Aug. 26th, 2016

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An exoplanet has been discovered orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System.  The exoplanet is called Proxima Centauri b.   You have to go through several web sites to get all of the details.

Proxima Centauri is an M-Type red dwarf flare star 4.3 light years away.

The exoplanet was discovered orbiting Proxima by detecting "wabbling" of the star's apparent radial velocity doppler shift:

The exoplanet has a mass of at least 1.3 times that of Earth and orbits once every 11.2 days at a distance of 4.4 million miles (5% if the Earth-Sun distance).  Because Proxima is so much smaller (1000 time fainter than the Sun), the intensity of sunshine is about 70% of that received on Earth, placing it in a habitable "goldilocks" zone where an atmosphere and liquid water could exist if they were present.  We have not observed the exoplanet itself so we know nothing about its composition, etc.

It could be tidally locked, placing one face continually to the star.  And because Proxima is a flare star, the exoplanet could occasionally get zapped with a high energy destructive UV and X-ray blast, all of which would make life there difficult at best.

Press conference link still works at time of posting this:

Advance it to about 10 minutes in to get sound and start of the event


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