It turns out that the star closest to our sun is home to not two, but three planets!

The closest star, Proxima Centauri, turned out to be home to another planet. The researchers wrote this in a study published today in Astronomy and astrophysics has been published. We already knew there were two planets orbiting the star. But we can now add a third planet to that list.

Discovery
In the new study, astronomers observed the galaxy using the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO). To their surprise, they came across an intriguing evidence of a sign that meets an orbiting body for five days. Follow up on feedback with a new, more accurate tool from ESO’s VLT – the Echelle spectrograph of rocky exoplanets and stable spectroscopic observations (Espresso) – In fact, researchers cannot help but conclude that Proxima Centauri is home to another planet. The new candidate planet has been named Proxima d.

proximity to
This newly discovered planet appears to orbit Proxima Centauri at a distance of about four million kilometers. For imaging, that’s less than a tenth of the distance between Mercury and the Sun. The planet is located between the star and the habitable zone – the area around the star where liquid water can exist on the planet’s surface. It only takes five days for the planet to make one orbit around Proxima Centauri.

The lightest planet outside the solar system
Upon further analysis, Proxima d appears to possess only a quarter of the Earth’s mass. This makes the planet really lightweight and also one of the lightest exoplanets ever discovered. “The discovery shows that our closest stellar neighbors are immersed in interesting new worlds, which are within the scope of further research and exploration,” said study leader João Faria.

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Proxima Centauri
This discovery makes the star Proxima Centauri even more exciting than it already was. This is in part because the star is located a relatively short distance from Earth. For example, the star is only 4 light years away, which makes it closer to our sun. As mentioned, it was already known that this star is home to two planets, one of which can look very similar to Earth. Proxima b has a mass similar to that of Earth and completes one orbit around the star every 11 days. In addition, the planet orbits Proxima Centauri proximity cwhich crosses a wider orbit with a five-year orbit.

Live on Proxima b?
proximity b It is the closest exoplanet discovered so far. On top of that, this planet also lies in the habitable zone (meaning that, judging by its distance from its parent star, it could theoretically contain the water so vital to life as we know it). Soon after the discovery of Proxima b, there was great enthusiasm. Because the nearest exoplanet could harbor life! However, many astronomers have since changed their minds, because study after study suggests that the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri is particularly restless and restless. It regularly produces violent solar flares Any atmosphere or ocean on Proxima b has evaporated and may have sterilized the surface.

According to the researchers, the discovery of a third planet around Proxima Centauri is not only remarkable, but also shows the potential of the new ESPRESSO instrument. “We can now detect a group of planets as light as our own,” said researcher Pedro Figueira. Such planets are expected to be the most abundant in our Milky Way galaxy and could harbor life as we know it. “Our findings show what espresso can achieve,” Faria adds. “It makes me curious about what the machine might discover in the future.”

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