Super Earth orbits neighboring star Proxima Century every five and a half years – Technology News, Firstpost



Findings from a recent analysis of our neighboring star Proxima Century suggest that it may be orbited by a previously unknown planet.

When analyzing the cyclical changes in the light spectrum emitted by the Proxima century, Mario Damasso of the National Institute of Astrophysics in Italy and his colleagues presented the data suggesting that this candidate planet orbits the star every 5.2 years and could be a & # 39 super-Earth. "

The planet is thought to have a mass greater than that of Earth, although significantly less when compared to the ice giants of the solar system – Uranus and Neptune.


If its existence is confirmed, this planet could provide information about how low-mass planets form around low-mass stars.

An artist's rendering of the Proxima Centauri planetary system. The newly discovered exoplanet Proxima c is on the right. Image credit: Lorenzo Santinelli


It could also challenge models of how super lands are born. Most are believed to form near the snow line, the minimum distance from a star at which water can turn to solid ice.

However, the orbit of the candidate planet is almost 1.5 Astronomical Units (AU) from the star, which is far beyond that ideal point. An AU is equal to the average distance between the Sun and the Earth.

An earlier study by Proxima Centauri using the Atacama Large Millimeter / sub-millimeter Array (ALMA) – an astronomical observatory in northern Chile – reported an unknown source of light spectrum signals that could belong to a second planet or simply have been a product from a neighboring galaxy or an unrelated phenomenon.

To better understand whether the signal originated from another planet orbiting the star, Mario Damasso and colleagues analyzed a 17.5-year time series of high-precision radial velocities using an exoplanet detection method that tracks a star's light spectrum .

If this spectrum oscillates between red and blue, it indicates that the star is moving towards and away from the Earth at regular intervals, a cycle usually caused by the presence of an orbiting body.

The researchers found that the signal occurs over a period of 1,900 days, suggesting that it is probably not related to cyclical changes in the star's magnetic field. However, the authors emphasize that more evidence is needed to confirm their conclusion.

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