Radio wave emission detected from the direction of Proxima Centauri 

  • IASbaba
  • December 30, 2020
  • 0
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Radio wave emission detected from the direction of Proxima Centauri 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & tech

In news

  • Astronomers at the $100 million Breakthrough Listen project have recently picked up radio wave emission from the direction of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Sun.
  • Breakthrough Listen project was started by physicist Stephen Hawking, 

Key takeaways 

  • The news has sparked renewed interest in Proxima Centauri, one of whose planets is believed to revolve in the star’s habitable zone, giving rise to the possibility that it could have, or does, sustain life.
  • Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light-years away from the Sun. 
  • Its mass is about an eighth of the Sun’s, and it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye from Earth.

Important value additions 

Proxima b

  • Proxima b, one of the two planets that revolve around the star, is the subject of significant curiosity.
  • Sized 1.2 times larger than Earth, and orbiting its star every 11 days, Proxima b lies in Proxima Centauri’s Goldilocks zone.
  • Goldilocks zone is the area around a star where it is not too hot and not too cold for liquid water to exist on the surface of surrounding planets (e.g. Earth is in the Sun’s Goldilocks zone).
  • However, this does not mean for sure that water is present on Proxima b. 
  • It could also be hostile to life, if its atmosphere has been stripped away by solar flares from Proxima Centauri.

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