Proxima b

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Proxima b

Postby jjb2011 » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:57 pm

It is interesting news to find that the closest star to the sun, Proxima Centauri, has at least one planet in orbit around it. Data from the European Large telescope (3.9m) and sited in Chile and used with high resolution spectroscopy equipment suggests Proxima b has a minimum mass 1.3 times that of Earth and orbits at a distance of about 7.5 million km from the star, taking 11.2 days to complete one revolution. This places it right in the habitable zone of the star.
The big question is, can life get started on a planet orbiting a red dwarf star ? High magnetic fields ( ~x500 that the sun) and high x-ray flux (~ x200 that of the sun) may destroy ant planetary atmosphere and sterilise the surface. Also, Proxima b's rotation may well be tidally locked as it is so close to the star.

Never the less this new extra-solar planet has got to be a good target for future robotic missions.


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