Astronomers have spotted an extraterrestrial planet around Proxima Centauri, the sun's nearest neighbor. Proxima b is a planet that is just slightly larger than Earth. It orbits in the star's habitable zone, which implies liquid water — and maybe life — might exist there. Despite its Earth-like characteristics, Proxima b is a strange, alien world. NASA scientists have spent a significant amount of time researching this strange world in order to uncover all of its mysteries. What have they discovered about this amazing planet? Is there life on it? Join us as we look into NASA's findings on Proxima b, which expose all of its mysteries!
The discovery of another planet was announced less than six years ago. This planet, known as Proxima Centaur b or just Proxima b, is classified as an exoplanet due to its position outside the solar system. Astronomers have discovered a huge and rising number of Earth-sized exoplanets circling distant stars in recent years. Some are in their stars' habitable zones, where temperatures may enable liquid water to exist on their surfaces. However, astronomers were particularly delighted by Proxima Centauri b since the sun it circles is the nearest star to our solar, barely 4.2 light-years away! Guillem Anglada-Escude and a team of astronomers from the Pale Red Dot initiative discovered Proxima b. Its existence was verified using the ESO 3.6-meter telescope's High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, or HARPS spectrograph, using a process called as Doppler Spectroscopy or the Radial Velocity Method. This approach involves monitoring the spectra of stars for evidence of "wobble," which occurs as a star moves closer and further away from Earth. This is created by the gravitational impact of planets orbiting the star, the extent of which is used to calculate the planets' masses. Astronomers derived a minimum mass estimate of 1.24 Earth masses and a maximum mass estimate of 2.06 Earth masses for Proxima b.
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