General, Research, Technology

Astronomers have found evidence of the existence of super-Earth near the solar system

Proxima Centauri - Our Nearest Neighbora star located just 4.2 light years from us. For a long time, scientists believed that there was only one planet in the Proxima system - a potentially inhabited world called Proxima B, however, in a study published on sciencealert.com, scientists from the Italian National Institute of Astrophysics report the discovery of another planet in the system that they christened Proxima S.

Another planet discovered in the Proxima Centauri system

Super-Earth Discovered Near Solar System

Super Earth is a planet whose mass is greater than massEarth, but less than the mass of the ice giant Neptune. It was such an object that was discovered in the planetary system of Proxima Centauri closest to the Earth, where an exoplanet potentially suitable for organic life had already been found. Astronomer Mario Damasso, the lead author of the article, claims that Proxima C, if it exists, is most likely unsuitable for life because of its extreme distance from the star.

In addition, the location of Proxima Ccan make an exoplanet a truly unique place. Astronomers believe that super-earths form around the so-called “snow line” - the distance to the star, where water turns into ice. Accumulating in this area, when the stellar system is still in its infancy, small ice bodies form larger planets, however, recently discovered Proxima C violates this rule. It is known that the exoplanet is far beyond the snow line, and its existence may challenge the generally accepted theory.

Read also: Scientists are ready to find traces of life on Proxima-b and in the Trappist system

Super-Earth Snow Line

In order to discover a large planet inthe neighboring star system, scientists have applied the radial velocity method, based on measuring the force of attraction between a star and a hypothetical object orbiting a distant star. Located in the orbit of the parent star, the planets are slightly attracted by stars, which, in turn, change the color of their glow. In the event that the changes are cyclical in nature, astronomers suggest that the cause of such a phenomenon may be an exoplanet located nearby.

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Damasso's team was able to determine that similarthe type of periodic changes is not related to the movement of the previously discovered Proxima B. In search of signs of a second orbital planet, scientists hope to create a direct visualization of the system using data from the James Webb telescope, whose launch is scheduled for March 2021. The new infrared technology built into the space telescope will allow researchers to obtain more data about nearby stars and the surrounding exoplanets, shedding light on the existence of Proxima S.