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Exoplanet Proxima b has a 'stable climate'

Posted on Tuesday, 16 May, 2017 | Comment icon 4 comments

Could the planet in orbit around Proxima Centauri be habitable ? Image Credit: NASA
Scientists have been trying to work out what the weather might be like on this recently discovered world.
Situated only 4.2 light-years away in orbit around the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, this small terrestrial planet, which was first discovered back in August 2016, could be a genuine Earth 2.0.

Now a team of astrophysicists and weather experts have combined their efforts to determine if the conditions on Proxima b are sufficiently favorable for life to exist there.

Using a modified version of the Met Office's weather prediction equipment, the researchers approached the task of estimating the planet's conditions based on two possible scenarios.

Proxima b is much closer to its parent star than the Earth, so for the first scenario the team worked under the assumption that the planet was tidally locked with one side always facing its star. The results for this possibility indicated that the daylight side would see a large amount of rainfall.

The second scenario placed Proxima b in a similar orbit to Mercury. Because Proxima Centauri is much smaller and cooler than the Sun, a closer orbit would produce surface conditions extremely similar to those found on the Earth.

Both scenarios produced "a remarkably stable climate regime" with the possibility of liquid water.

"We have neglected the presence of any land surface, as we have no information what this may look like, but in considering the surface to be water-covered, we have additionally neglected any transport of heat by the oceans," the researchers wrote.

Source: | Comments (4)

Tags: Proxima b, Extrasolar, Earth

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by BeastieRunner on 16 May, 2017, 18:35
That's not very far away.
Comment icon #2 Posted by seanjo on 16 May, 2017, 19:38
A huge coincidence if it could support Earth life, or there are Planets that can support Earth life all over the place...
Comment icon #3 Posted by bison on 16 May, 2017, 21:39
Proxima Centauri is an active star. It's estimated that the planet Proxima b is lashed by stellar winds 2000 timesstrongerthose experienced by Earth. It seems that maintaining an atmosphere against such erosive forces would be very unlikely. Mars experienced stellar winds less strong than those at Earth, and long ago lost most of its atmosphere, afterits magnetic field shut down.
Comment icon #4 Posted by coolguy on 17 May, 2017, 3:11
Im sure there are plenty of planets out there that has life on them right now.we will never know, they say the same about us, one thing for sure there is life out there

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