European astronomers have reported that they may have discovered a second exoplanet in the vicinity of the star nearest us – Proxima Centauri. In the event that its existence is proved, then for the first time in history there will be a chance to capture the exoplanet in the range of visible radiation. The special location of the object and, of course, powerful telescopes will help in this.
Previously, researchers took pictures exclusively in the infrared spectrum to prevent the light emitted by a star from blocking the planets. But Proxima c, as scientists have already called it, is at a sufficiently large distance from the parent body, which makes it possible to examine it in more detail. Two years later, the new James Webb space observatory will be launched, with the help of which it is planned to directly monitor this planet.
One of the authors of the discovery, Mario Damasso, last Friday gave a presentation on the topic at a conference at the University of California at Berkeley. He stressed that the observed object is still in the status of a candidate for exoplanets. There are still a number of complex studies to be conducted in order to get a final verdict.
If the presence of the planet is confirmed, then Proxima c is a super-earth that is about six times heavier than our planet. It makes a complete revolution around a star in 1900 days. Proxima Centauri, being a red dwarf, does not possess such energy as that of the Sun, therefore Proxima c is a frozen world where life is hardly capable of existing.
Despite this, Proxima c is a very interesting space object for specialists. The thing is that super-Earths are the most common type of planets in the Milky Way, but specifically in our star system there are no such, because of which there are difficulties with the concept of their appearance. If the current mission succeeds and the photograph is nevertheless obtained, scientists will be able to say for sure what super-earths are – liquid giants, such as Neptune, or stony planets, to which our Earth belongs.
Exoplanet nearest Earth
Another exoplanet, Proxima b, which is considered to be the closest to us from all known, as well as potentially habitable, was discovered in the same star earlier. Scientists have determined that the planet has an atmosphere, quite favorable temperature on the surface and, possibly, water in liquid form. Of the negative aspects can be identified high exposure to radiation and ultraviolet radiation.
In December 2017, NASA decided that it was Proxima b that would become the first interstellar expedition in the history of mankind, which is scheduled for 2069. Only on such a long space journey will not people, but probes. If they manage to reach a speed of at least one-tenth of the speed of light, they will reach the “final stop” in 44 years. True, to date, technology to achieve this speed yet.