Space & Astronomy
Is Proxima Centauri home to a second Earth ?
By T.K. Randall
August 16, 2016 · 53 comments
Is there a second Earth just 4.25 light-years away ? Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have allegedly discovered a potentially habitable planet within a neighboring star system.
Astronomers have detected thousands of new planets over the last few years, but while many of them have the potential to be habitable, most are too far away for us to ever actually visit.
This however may soon be set to change thanks to the apparent discovery of an Earth-like world in orbit around Proxima Centauri - a red dwarf star situated just 4.25 light-years away.
The find has yet to be formally confirmed as scientists are still investigating it, however there is a rumor that something official will be announced before the end of this month.
According to German weekly Der Spiegel, the planet, which exists in its star's habitable zone, was identified using a reflecting telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO).
"The discovery of [a] possible planet around Proxima Centauri is very exciting," Professor Phillip Lubin at the University of California told Universe Today
in an email.
"It makes the case of visiting nearby stellar systems even more compelling, though we know there are many exoplanets around other nearby stars and it is very likely that the Alpha Centauri system will also have planets."
Right now all we can do is wait and see if something about the discovery is actually announced, but if an Earth-like world really has been found so close by then it would surely be one of the most important astronomical discoveries of recent times.
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