A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri

Guillem Anglada-Escude, Pedro J. Amado, John Barnes, Zaira M. Berdinas, Paul Butler, Gavin A. L. Coleman, Ignacio de la Cueva, Stefan Dreizler, Michael Endl, Benjamin Giesers, Sandra V. Jeffers, James S. Jenkins, Hugh Jones, Marcin Kiraga, Martin Kurster, Maria J. Lopez-Gonzalez, Christopher J. Marvin, Nicolas Morales, Julien Morin, Richard P. NelsonJose L. Ortiz, Aviv Ofir, Sijme-Jan Paardekooper, Ansgar Reiners, Eloy Rodriguez, Cristina Rodriguez-Lopez, Luis F. Sarmiento, John P. Strachan, Yiannis Tsapras, Mikko Tuomi, Mathias Zechmeister

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Abstract

At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890 or simply Proxima) is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. It has an effective temperature of only around 3,050 kelvin, a luminosity of 0.15 per cent of that of the Sun, a measured radius of 14 per cent of the radius of the Sun and a mass of about 12 per cent of the mass of the Sun. Although Proxima is considered a moderately active star, its rotation period is about 83 days and its quiescent activity levels and X-ray luminosity4 are comparable to those of the Sun. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-440
JournalNature
Volume536
Early online date24 Aug 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2016

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