Published: Fri, January 17, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

The neighboring star, Next Centauri, could be hosting a second planet

The neighboring star, Next Centauri, could be hosting a second planet

Insolation is the solar radiation that reaches the planet's surface. This new planet - simply named Proxima c - is believed to be a super-Earth somewhere between the size of Earth but no bigger than Neptune and orbits Proxima Centauri approximately every five Earth years. Yet how many of them are treasure Earth - and how total Earth-treasure worlds may moreover very successfully be - is aloof up for debate.

Measurements indicate Proxima c is orbiting at a distance that is 1.5 times farther than Earth is from the Sun, making it much colder than Proxima b, where temperatures are mild enough to permit liquid surface water. Those massive gas giants are believed to have rocky cores around the mass and shape of Earth, once you lift away the hydrogen and helium. It's 50 percent farther from Proxima Centauri than Earth is from the sun, and Proxima Centauri is a much cooler star.

A light-year, which measures distance in space, equals 6 trillion miles.

It's the second discovery of a planet orbiting that star - the network reported that astronomers in 2016 found the planet Proxima b, which they said was potentially habitable.

According to the magazine, Proxima b has been considered one of the most promising areas for scientists who are looking for signs of life outside the Solar System due to its relative closeness to Earth and because it is in the "habitable zone" of its star.

Scientists used to wonder how common planets were throughout the universe, and now we know - they're everywhere. Beyond the "snowline" of the solar system means that any water on the planet would likely be frozen.

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The new Proxima c is nearly certainly a harder world, orbiting further from Proxima Centauri, which produces only a fraction of our sun's energy.

"The formation of a super-Earth well beyond the snowline challenges formation models, according to which the snowline is a sweet spot for the accretion of super-Earths, due to the accumulation of icy solids at that location", Mario Damasso, study author and postdoctoral researcher at Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics, told CNN. "Or it suggests that the protoplanetary disk became as soon as significant hotter than most incessantly conception". They dubbed the planet Proxima c in the paper published in the journal, Science Advances.

The team analyzed 17 years of data from the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) and the UVES (Ultraviolet and Visual Echelle Spectrograph) instruments to identify Proxima c.

By discovering this planet, we can better understand how the planetary systems formed and how they evolve around stars.

Promixa b is also orbiting the Proxima Centauri star. In 2016, researchers discovered Proxima b, which is believed to have a similar mass to Earth, and an orbital period of 11 days.

However, the candidate planet's orbit lies nearly 1.5 Astronomical Units (AU) away from the star, which is far beyond this sweet spot.

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