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Proxima Centauri c?

15 Apr 2019, 12:09 UTC
Proxima Centauri c?
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A possible second planet around Proxima Centauri raises all kind of questions. I wasn’t able to make it to Breakthrough Discuss this year, but I’ve gone over the presentation made by Mario Damasso of Turin Observatory and Fabio Del Sordo of the University of Crete, recounting their excellent radial velocity analysis of the star. Proxima c is a fascinating world, if it’s there, because it would be a super-Earth in a distant (and cold) 1.5 AU orbit of a dim red star. Exactly how it formed and whether it migrated to its current position could occupy us for a long time.
But is it there? The first difficulty has to do with stellar activity, which Damasso and Del Sordo were careful to screen out; it’s one of the major problem areas for radial velocity work in this kind of environment, for red dwarf stars are often quite active. During the question and answer session, another key question emerged: We know from Kepler that many stars are orbited by multiple planets, and there is no reason to assume that Proxima Centauri has but one.
The question: If there are other, smaller worlds in play here, could the effect of their ...

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