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Another Earth discovered: is right around the corner

Proxima B on Earth: “come in!” Have astronomers discovered the planet in outer space where there is life? In any case, B liquid water is possible on Proxima. And the distance to its Sun is also the case that life is possible. From Astronauts, Proxima Centauri is also right next door.

“Only” four light-years away tracked down astronomers the planets, orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, and on which may have conditions that enable the life. Four light-years away, which is relatively little on current standpoint. “Earth-like” planet for astronomers have tracked over the past years, gone significantly further.

This picture combines a view of the southern skies over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile with images of the stars Proxima Centauri (lower-right) and the double star Alpha Centauri AB (lower-left) from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Solar System and is orbited by the planet Proxima b, which was discovered using the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope.
This picture combines a view of the southern skies over the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile with images of the stars Proxima Centauri (lower-right) and the double star Alpha Centauri AB (lower-left) from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Solar System and is orbited by the planet Proxima b, which was discovered using the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope.

Kepler 452-b, discovered by the Kepler space telescope, about 1,400 light years away. There are still 1,100 light years from Earth up to the two planets Kepler-438 b and Kepler-442 b much closer already the planet known as “Mega Earth” is Kepler with 560 light-years-10 c.

Therefore the discovery of GJ was 1132b last year as spectacular, because this planet is only 39 light years away, and the science has electrified. Thus, the four light years are really not a lot to Proxima b so that astronomers talk about neighborhood.

Discovery of the new “Earth” was difficult

Discovery was not easy even with the modern Super telescopes. The cool star in the constellation of Centaurus will be the brighter star pair Alpha Centauri AB clearly Outshined. Therefore, it was difficult to prove the long suspected extrasolar planets in orbit of Proxima Centauri. This evidence is a team of astronomers with the Mission of pale dot finally succeeded.

Proxima b orbits its Sun in small distance

The rock planet more massive than our Earth and moves with a distance of seven million kilometers of Proxima Centauri:  only 5% of the Earth-Sun distance. Despite the large close to Proxima Centauri b to its parent star, the planet is located well within the so-called habitable zone that Proxima Centauri is much weaker than the Sun.

This image of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The picture was created from pictures forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The blue halo around Alpha Centauri AB is an artifact of the photographic process, the star is really pale yellow in colour like the Sun.
This image of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The picture was created from pictures forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. The blue halo around Alpha Centauri AB is an artifact of the photographic process, the star is really pale yellow in colour like the Sun.

The term habitable zone astronomers refer directly a habitable human area, but an area in which a celestial body can bring forth life. In the case of Proxima Centauri b astronomers the surface temperature estimate so that the presence of liquid water would be possible what is regarded as a prerequisite for life.

Search for life focuses on Proxima b

The climate on Proxima b is much different than on Earth, the scientists suggest. There are no seasons most likely. Liquid water would probably occur in regions with strong sunlight, either in a part of the hemisphere of the planet, which is always facing the star, or a tropical belt.

Though Proxima is exposed to b of also a significantly higher radiation than about the Earth which, in turn, may mean that gases and liquids within five billion years since the emergence of the planet whose surface have disappeared.

The discovery of Proxima b is the beginning of a series of further observations with current instruments and with the next generation of extremely large telescopes such as the European extremely large telescope (E-ELT). Proxima b will be in the future of one of the most important objectives for the search for life in the universe. And actually there with the project of StarShot’s vision, the Alpha Centauri system with a spacecraft from the to target Earth.

Search for the small movements of a star

But how did astronomers the small planet actually on the track? During the first half of the year 2016, Proxima Centauri had been observed regularly using the telescope of the European Southern Observatory on La Silla in Chile and at the same time with other telescopes around the globe. This pale red dot campaign astronomers headed by Guillem Anglada Escudé by Queen Mary University in London looking for those small movements of the star, which would be produced by the gravitational influence of a planet orbiting it.

“Discovered the first evidence of a possible planet already in 2013, but the results were inconclusive. Since then we have worked with the help of the ESO and other partners hard, to be able to carry out further observations. “The planning for our now run through red pale red project took almost two years”, said Guillem Anglada Escudé.

Movement patterns indicated on another planet

The data of the pale red dot project were combined with earlier observations of the ESO and other observatories and showed such a clear signal and very exciting results. Proxima Centauri moves away regularly at about 5 km/h on us to and back from us. This pattern indicates the presence of a planet orbiting its parent star every 11.2 days.

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