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 (ref. 3) and its quiescent activity levels and X-ray luminosity 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.
- Pub Date:
- August 2016
- Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
- Version accepted for publication by Nature (unedited, July 7th, 2016), figures inserted in text for easier read. Article body : 10 pages, 3 figures, 1 table. Methods section : 23 pages, 9 figures, 1 table. IMPORTANT NOTE : Acknowledgment to IAA/CSIC researchers Javier Pascual Granado and Rafael Garrido added for useful discussions and feedback on the mathematical properties of time-series