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Proxima Centauri B planet

Proxima Centauri B planet

R650/0060

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Proxima Centauri B. Artwork depicting a planet orbiting the star Proxima Centauri (red star at right). This planet was proposed by Alan Schultz et al based on observations using the Hubble Space Telescope in 1997. It is claimed that the planet has a mass about ten times that of Jupiter, and has a highly eccentric (elongated) orbit. This object could instead be a brown dwarf, an object of stellar composition which is just too small to shine by its own light. Proxima Centauri is a flare star of spectral class M5, and at 4.2 light years is the closest star to the Sun. It forms a triple system with alpha-1 Centauri (above centre) and alpha-2 Centauri (upper right).

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