Proxima B, which orbits the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri is a rocky planet discovered in the ‘habitable’ zone of the star nearest our Sun. This planet is said to be covered with oceans as said by the researchers at France’s CNRS research institute.
The CNRS astrophysicists calculated the size and the surface properties of this planet dubbed as Proxima B and made a conclusion that it is an ocean planet similar to our Earth.
According to Yahoo News, scientists discovered ProximaB in August and said that Proxima B may be the first planet outside our solar system which may one day visited by the robots from Earth. The planet is around four light years from us and orbits within a temperate zone from its host star Proxima Centauri.
The planet has a mass about 1.3 times that of the earth and orbits about 4.6 million miles from its star which is about one tenth of the distance of innermost planet Mercury from Sun.
A CNRS member said that the proximity does not necessarily mean that the surface of Proxima B is too hot for water to exist in liquid form. This may be contrary to what anyone can expect.
Proxima Centauri is smaller than Sun and around 1000 times weaker than it which makes us conclude that Proxima B may be exactly at the right distance from Centauri and therefore may have the right conditions to be potentially habitable. The statement from CNRS added that the planet is much expected to host liquid water on its surface and some forms of life will be certainly there.
The size of exoplanets like Proxima b is calculated by measuring the amount of light they block form Earth’s perspective when they pass in front of their host star. But for Proxima B, no such transit happened, so scientists had to rely on simulations to estimate the radius and composition of the planet.