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A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri

At a distance of 1.295 parsecs, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890 or simply Proxima) is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour and one of the best-studied low-mass stars

Authors:
Anglada-Escude, G; Amado, PJ; Barnes, J; Berdinas, ZM; Butler, RP; Coleman, GAL; de la Cueva, I; Dreizler, S; Endl, M; Giesers, B; Jeffers, SV; Jenkins, JS; Jones, HRA; Kiraga, M; Kurster, M; Lopez-Gonzalez, MJ; Marvin, CJ; Morales, N; Morin, J; Nelson, RP; Ortiz, JL; Ofir, A; Paardekooper, SJ; Reiners, A; Rodriguez, E; Rodriguez-Lopez, C; Sarmiento, LF; Strachan, JP; Tsapras, Y; Tuomi, M; Zechmeister, M

Abstract:
At a distance of 1.295 parsecs1, the red dwarf Proxima Centauri (α Centauri C, GL 551, HIP 70890 or simply Proxima) is the Sun’s closest stellar neighbour and one of the best-studied low-mass stars. It has an effective temperature of only around 3,050 kelvin, a luminosity of 0.15 per cent of that of the Sun, a measured radius of 14 per cent of the radius of the Sun2 and a mass of about 12 per cent of the mass of the Sun. Although Proxima is considered a moderately active star, its rotation period is about 83 days (ref. 3) and its quiescent activity levels and X-ray luminosity4 are comparable to those of the Sun. Here we report observations that reveal the presence of a small planet with a minimum mass of about 1.3 Earth masses orbiting Proxima with a period of approximately 11.2 days at a semi-major-axis distance of around 0.05 astronomical units. Its equilibrium temperature is within the range where water could be liquid on its surface5.

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