Hab­it­able planet found near Earth

Down to Earth - - THE FORTNIGHT - DOWN TO EARTH

A TEAM com­pris­ing Euro­pean sci­en­tists has an­nounced the dis­cov­ery of an Earth-sized planet or­bit­ing Prox­ima Cen­tauri, the star near­est to the so­lar sys­tem. in a tem­per­ate zone and has liq­uid wa­ter. The sci­en­tists pre­sented their find­ings, based on data col­lected over 16 years in the jour­nal, Na­ture. The team worked with tele­scopes of the Mu­nich-based Euro­pean South­ern Ob­ser­va­tory in the deserts of north Chile. They used Dop­pler spec­troscopy, an in­di­rect method for find­ing ex­tra­so­lar plan­ets, to de­tect Prox­ima b and de­scribe its prop­er­ties. Prox­ima b has a mass of around 1.3 times that of Earth, and or­bits about seven mil­lion kilo­me­tres from Prox­ima Cen­tauri. It is just four light years from the so­lar sys­tem, mean­ing it is on the scale of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

PLAN­E­TARY HABITABILIT Y LAB­O­RA­TORY

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