Proxima Centauri B – Earth-Like Planet Discovered In Our Cosmic Backyard
As of August 24, a newly confirmed Habitable Zone
A zone within the proper distance from a star in which planets can foster liquid water. This is a significant zone because where there is water, there is oxygen, and possibly life.” class=”glossaryLink “>habitable zone
A zone within the proper distance from a star in which planets can foster liquid water. This is a significant zone because where there is water, there is oxygen, and possibly life.” class=”glossaryLink “>habitable zone. It is in this specific zone that a planet can support the presence of liquid water. Where this is liquid water, there is oxygen, and where there is oxygen there is, or could be life.
How far away is Proxima Centauri B?
The exciting new exoplanet was confirmed orbiting the star Proxima Centauri, which is 4.42
Part of searching for a human-friendly planet is mass. As we see in large planets like Jupiter, too much mass creates environments entirely unsuitable for human life. Fortunately, Proxima Centauri B is thought to be around 1.3 times Earth’s size, which is a completely acceptable (and, exciting) size for a planet.
Plus, if Proxima Centauri B does still have its atmosphere, its temperatures may be as high as 86º F on the sunny side, and as low as -22º on the shaded side. These are absolutely manageable temperatures for human lifeforms.
What comes next for Proxima Centauri B?
Similar to most astronomical findings, the next step is research, research and more research. Instead of jetting off to visit the newly found planet, astronomers will likely push telescopes to their limits to further investigate the world.
Regardless, this discovery marks a turning point in science. This is a shot of hope and confidence that Earth-like planets orbiting similar stars in habitable zones are not out-of-the-question.
Furthermore, finding a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth after years of observations tell us that if we continue searching, we are likely to find these planets in many places. This kind of boost will only continue to heat up the search for habitable exoplanets.