Proxima Centauri Has a Planet!

Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod!

Okay, calm down, James. Breathe. Breathe.

Okay. Let’s take a look at Alpha Centuari, a binary star system located within a mere 5 light-years from Earth. In the bottom corner of the image, you can see a red dwarf star called Proxima Centauri, which is believed to be a companion to the Alpha Centauri pair. And in orbit of Promixa, you can see… you can see… ohmigod!

Ag16 Alpha Centauri

Apparently the European Southern Observatory (ESO) has discovered a planet orbiting Proxima. Not only that, it’s an Earth-like planet. And furthermore, it’s within Proxima’s habitable zone. This according to an unnamed source in a German newspaper.

The ESO is a highly respected, extremely trustworthy astronomical institution. As for unnamed sources… okay, let’s put our skeptical hats back on.

Let’s also remember that Earth-like planets are not necessarily all that Earth-like. For the last few weeks, I’ve been blogging from the surface of Titan, which is often described as one of the most Earth-like worlds in the Solar System. And let me tell you, it is miserable here. I guess there could be life on Titan, but not life as we humans understand it.

Mars is also sometimes described as Earth-like, and believe it or not, so is Venus.

Ag16 Earth-like Worlds

Supposedly the ESO will release its official findings at the end of August. Until then, we’ll just have to sit back, wait patiently, and stay skeptical.

P.S.: Ohmigod! Proxima Centauri might have… might… I can’t even! OH MY GOD!!!

Link

Earth-like Planet Around Proxima Centauri Discovered from Universe Today.

 

11 thoughts on “Proxima Centauri Has a Planet!

      1. I remember a few Sci-Fi stories that said we’d go to Proxima first, even before Alpha Centauri proper. That seemed like a really bold prediction back in the day. A red dwarf star with planets? Habitable planets at that? That seemed like a real stretch.

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      2. “Far Centaurus” was the story that always stuck with me. I read that not long after reading “Earthlight” and “A Fall of Moondust” and it blew my mind.

        But, yes: most writers had us going to the two main stars. I think one of the only planets from a red sun to end up in a story was Down, which showed up in a couple of Larry Niven’s stories, “Handicapped” being the main one.

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    1. Yeah, I read at some point that red dwarfs are more violent, in terms of solar flare activity, than yellow dwarfs like our sun. So this alleged planet may be a bit overcooked. Still, even a Mars-like planet would be an exciting find if it’s this close.

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