On March 24, 2017, astronomers led by Carnegie’s Meredith MacGregor and Alycia Weinberger discovered that a giant stellar flare erupted from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun (Proxima Centauri means ‘nearest [star] of Centaurus’), using data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). The huge flare was 10 times larger than a major solar flare. And it blasted Proxima Centauri b (also called Proxima b), the exoplanet orbiting within the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, with 4,000 times more radiation than Earth gets from solar flares. The event probably wiped out the exoplanet’s atmosphere (if exists any), and dimmed the last hopes of extraterrestrial life on it. This finding is published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters on February 22, 2018.
Continue reading Huge Proxima Centauri flare blasts nearest exoplanet Proxima b
Scientists spotted water in the atmosphere of 51 Pegasi b, one of the first exoplanets ever been discovered. It is around 50 light years away – so we can call it a “nearby” exoplanet – and it is in the constellation of Pegasus.
51 Pegasi b has not marked a breakthrough in astronomical research for the first time: back in 1995, it was the first exoplanet to be discovered orbiting a main-sequence star. The first confirmed exoplanet discovery came in 1992 when several terrestrial-mass planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12.
Continue reading Water found on the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b
Proxima Centauri b, the Earth-like planet orbiting the red dwarf Proxima Centauri may have oceans, scientists say. The planet was discovered in August 2016 and caused excitement because it’s in the habitable zone of its star, and it’s rocky. And it’s in the Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to us!
Continue reading Proxima Centauri b May Have Oceans
Researches of France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) have calculated the size and surface properties of the planet and concluded it may be an “ocean planet” similar to Earth. There are possibilities, though, it may have continents and oceans like Earth, or its entire surface may be covered by a massive ocean.
On August 24, 2016, a group of scientists led by Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escude at the Queen Mary University of London, announced the discovery of a terrestrial exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf Proxima Centauri, the nearest known star to the Sun. Proxima Centauri is a Latin idiom, meaning “nearest (star) of Centaurus” (1). The new planet is named Proxima Centauri b and it is predicted to be orbiting within the habitable zone!
Continue reading Proxima Centauri b: Did We Find Earth’s Cousin?
The Earth is our one and only home. As Carl Sagan said (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space), “On Earth, everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”.
But will we ever leave our home and visit other stars in the future?
Continue reading Will We Ever Visit Other Stars?
Our galaxy, “The Milky Way” is a barred spiral galaxy (a spiral galaxy with a central bar-shaped structure composed of stars) some 100,000-120,000 light-years in diameter, which contains 100-400 billion stars. It may contain at least as many planets as well. Our Sun (the Solar System) is located within the disk, about 27,000 light-years away from the Galactic Center, on the inner edge of one of the spiral-shaped concentrations of gas and dust called the Orion Arm.