Astronomers and scientists are currently fixated on an Earth-like planet just 4.2 light years away. Proxima b, the recently spotted planet, could potentially support life.
A new study suggests that scientists may have found a potentially habitable planet orbiting around the nearest star from our Sun—the Proxima Centauri. The Earth-like planet, known as Proxima b, shares several qualities with Earth.
New Planet-Like Earth
According to an article from the National Geographic, Proxima b is almost the same size as Earth and has a temperature that could sustain elements that can support life, including water. The would-be planet also orbits within its own star’s “habitable zone.”
Guillem Anglada-Escude, a physics and astronomy lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, and the study’s lead researcher, said that recent findings provide insightful data that could give inspiration to future generations to continue looking for possible corners of the universe where “others” could live.
Anglada-Escude, who published the study in the science journal Planet, said that the study concludes that they have found a new planet. The planet was spotted from an observatory stationed in Chile using a high-resolution telescope.
“The uneven and sparse sampling, combined with the longer term variability of the star, seem to be the reasons why the signal could not be unambiguously confirmed with pre-2016 data, rather than the total amount of data accumulated,” the researchers noted in their study, as quoted by the Live Science.
Meanwhile, the International Planetary Society (IPS) is yet to officially recognize the planet the team has discovered. The society is set to hold its next conference on July 2018.
It can be recalled that in 2009, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) demoted the farthest planet from the sun—Pluto—to a dwarf planet. The IAU is the authority recognized in assigning names to celestial bodies, including planets and moons.