General, Research, Technology

Proxima Centauri turned out to be strikingly similar to our Sun.

In August 2016, the European SouthThe observatory stated that the closest star to our own - Proxima Centauri - has an exoplanet. Since then, it has attracted quite a lot of attention - many have become interested in how similar to Earth Proxima b can be. Despite some similarities with the Earth, there are great doubts about its ability to support life.

To this is also worth adding collected over 15 years.optical data and infrared data for 3 years from All Sky Automated Survey (ASAS), 4 years of X-ray and ultraviolet data from the Swift telescope, as well as 22 years of X-ray observations from ASCA, XXM-Newton and Chandra X-ray Observatory.

It turned out that Proxima Centauri reallyhas a cycle that includes changes in the minimum and maximum amount of emitted radiation, which corresponds to "star spots" on its surface.

“Optical data showed a wonderful 7 year oldcycle and rotation period of 83 days. When we spread this data over the years, we saw that this period varies from 77 to 90 days. We understood this as "differential rotation", like what our Sun has. Rotational speed is different at different latitudes; in the case of the Sun, it is about 35 days at the poles and 25 at the equator. "Medium" rotation is usually taken in 24.5 days. "

In essence, Proxima Centauri has its ownown cycle, but much more dramatic than that of our Sun. In addition to lasting 7 years from peak to peak, it also includes spots that can simultaneously cover more than 20% of the star’s surface. These spots are much larger in size than spots on the Sun.

And this is surprising, given that the bowels of Proximavery different from the bowels of the sun. Due to its low mass, the bowels of Proxima Centauri are convective, the substance from the core moves out. In contrast, convection on the sun proceeds only in the outer layer, and the core remains relatively motionless. Unlike our Sun, energy is transmitted to the surface through physical motion, rather than the radiation process.

Although these data do not tell us anything about the possiblehabitability of Proxima b, the existence of the solar cycle is an interesting find. In addition, the study of Proxima Centauri, its cycles and the nature of the radiation can lead us to good thoughts about the atmosphere of the planet.