Using the European Southern Observatory, researchers discovered a new planet called Proxima d. Here are the details…
The more we study the universe, the more we understand that our planet and we are smaller. A new planet has been discovered orbiting our neighboring star Proxima Centauri, which seems quite distant and very difficult to reach for humans, but is actually located right next to us, four light-years away. Here are the details…
Discovered new planet named Proxima d
Proxima Centauri was known to be home to two exoplanets. But using the European Southern Observatory’s rather large telescope, the latest researchers have revealed that these two planets may have a brother who could be at the top of the list of lightest exoplafers ever found.
The newly discovered planet, called Proxima d, orbits extremely close to its star just 2.5 million miles away. To better explain this, we can state that the distance between Mercury and the sun is one tenth.
So it’s actually so close that it takes just five days to complete a full rotation around its own sun (the Earth orbits the Sun in only 365 days). Therefore, because it is so close to its sun, its surface is too hot to be suitable for any life and water.
This planet is only a quarter of the mass of earth. Which makes it extremely light by exoplated standards. The small mass of the exoplaating planet makes it very difficult to spot. Therefore, after initial observations with ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope, the researchers turned to the Echelle Spectrograph and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO) device for Rocky Exophants on VLT.
João Faria, lead author of the study, said in a statement:
The discovery suggests that our nearest star neighbor appears to be full of interesting new worlds that more work and future discoveries can reach. After obtaining new observations, we were able to confirm this signal as a new planetary candidate. I am thrilled by the difficulty of detecting such a small signal and by doing so discovering an exopliation so close to Earth.
Many exoplaferenes are discovered using a transit method, where astronomers look for small drops in the brightness of a star caused by a planet passing between us and the star. But this exoplafer was discovered using a different method called the radial velocity technique, which seeks small wobbles in the movements of a star caused by the gravity of a passing planet.
Pedro Figueira, instrument scientist at ESO in Chile, said:
This success is extremely important. It suggests that the radial velocity technique, like ours, has the potential to unleash a population of light planets that are expected to be the most abundant in our galaxy and could potentially accommodate life as we know it.