On Aug. 24, 2016, NASA announced the discovery of Proxima b, a potential Earth like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun. This planet was discovered by a group of astronomers called the Pale Red Dot Campaign using “the radial velocity method,” according to Space.com.
Proxima b is a “habitable planet, so it’s position was not too close, not too far away. They call that the Goldilock Zone,” said Helix Science teacher Debra Byrd.
The exoplanet was discovered when it wobbled the parent, planet Proxima Centauri. Astronomers measured the wobble by using the doppler effect.
Due the possibility of water on the planet Proxima b could potentially be similar to Earth.
Megan Gannon from Space.com said, “What makes the discovery even more exciting is that the newfound terrestrial planet is about the size of Earth and lies in Proxima Centauri’s ‘habitable zone’— the range of distances where liquid water could exist on a world’s surface.”
The next chapter for the newfound exoplanet is to reach it.
“It’s not only the closest terrestrial planet found, it’s probably the closest planet outside our solar system that will ever be found, because there is no star closer to the solar system than this one” said author Guillem Anglada-Escudé, in a CNN report. The planet itself is 4.2 light years away, which is about 36 trillion kilometers from Earth.
Although the key to travel in and through space is to master traveling in light years, Helix sophomore Kathryn Neal believes that, “It’s progressive and going in the right direction.”
Author Ansgar Reiners told CNN, “It’s a dream come true for astronomers.”
The discovery has not only excited science enthusiasts, but many more.
“I was excited,” Neal said, “as a kid, I always liked hearing about new planets.”
PC: CNET and Wikipedia