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The new Super Earth Proxima c can orbit the star next door

Not one but two planets may orbit the nearest star around our Sun, a small red dwarf called Proxima Centauri, about 4.24 light-years away.

"We are pleased to be able to show you for the first time" What is a new candidate planet around Proxima for us called Proxima c? "Mario Damasso from the Italian Observatory of Turin announced on April 12 during of the conference "Breakthrough Discussion 2019".

"It's just a candidate," he says. "This is very important to underline."

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When the planet is there, it is at least six times as massive as Earth – which becomes a so-called Super Earth – and it takes 1,936 days to lay down once around its star. This means that the average surface temperature of the planet is far too cold for liquid water.

"Is this planet habitable? Well, not really – it's pretty cold, "says Fabio Del Sordo of the University of Crete.

Overall, then, for about 17 years, they had data about the wiggling and shaking of the star. In it, they discovered a signal that another planet might be in orbit around Proxima Centauri. If it's there – and that's still a handsome "if" – Primaima c needs just over five Earth years to trudge around its star at a distance that is 1.5 times farther than Earth's the sun is removed.

"This detection is very demanding," says Del Sordo. "We've often wondered if this is a real planet. What is certain, however, is that even if this planet is an airlock, we should continue working to create even stronger foundations.

A document describing the discovery was submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. Photo by ESO, M. Kornmesser

Scientists will continue to collect data on the star and plan to do so Using information from the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft to further investigate the movement of Proxima Centauri.