Scientists think a new ‘super-Earth’ planet – six times larger than our own -is possibly orbiting the nearest star to our sun – but it would be too cold for life to exist

  • Astronomers say they may have detected a second planet around Proxima Centauri, our solar system’s nearest neighboring star
  • The planet’s existence remains unconfirmed, for now
  • Dubbed Proxima c, it would be a so-called super-Earth
  • Its 1900-day orbit would also likely make it a frigid, inhospitable place
  • Planet lies some 1.5x the distance from Proxima Centauri as Earth is from the sun

Scientists believe they may have discovered a new planet orbiting the star which is closest to our sun.

Possibly two planets could be orbiting a small red dwarf called Proxima Centauri which is around 4.24 light-years away.

‘We are pleased to show you, for the first time, what is for us a new candidate planet around Proxima that we call Proxima c,’ Mario Damasso of Italy’s Observatory of Turin announced on Friday during the 2019 Breakthrough Discuss conference.

This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our solar system. However, it is now thought that a second planet, Proxima c is also in orbit around Proxima Centauri

 

Scientists already knew about the first planet, Proxima Centauri b (blue orbit) but believe a second planet orbits around the star and has been called Proxima Centauri c (red orbit)

 

‘It is only a candidate,’ Damasso says. ‘This is very important to underline.’

If there is a planet orbiting the star, it would be at least six times larger than Earth – giving it the title of a super-Earth.

Its orbit would take around 1,900 days to complete a loop around the star which would also mean the planet’s average surface temperature would be much too cold for liquid water to flow.

Three years ago scientists were able to reveal the first known planet orbiting Proxima Centauri.

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