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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Proxima Centauri

Proxima Centauri Star. Image Source :

Proxima Centauri:

     Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to our Earth and also near to the "Centaurus Star". It is located in the constellation of Centaurus which is nearly about 1.52 light years away from our Sun. It was first observed and discovered by Scottish astronomer Robert Innes in the Union Observatory in South Africa. It forms a third component for the Alpha Centauri Binary Star system. The orbital period of this star is 550,000 years.

     Mass of proxima centauri star is eighth of the mass of Sun and the density of the star is about 40 times larger than sun. Its changes in flare is due to the action of magnetic activity and the luminosity is very low, it cannot be clearly seen through our naked eye, because it is a flare star. The distance between the sun and proxima centauri is same as the distance between the sun and alpha centauri, this was calculated by Dutch astronomer Joan Voute (parallax method). In 2016, the European Southern observatory found that the star has a orbiting planet called Proxima-b and it is orbiting the star at a distance of 0.05 AU.

Proxima Centauri planetary system with proxima-b planet
     Proxima is a red dwarf, because it belongs to the Hertzsprung-Russell's M6 spectral class. It has a mean density of 1.411 x 10^3 kg/m^3 observed by Optical Interferometry Large Telescope in 2002. It has been observed by many observatories across the world. It is noted that its 85% of the energy is emitted as Infrared Radiation. The photometric variation of this star is 83.5 days as stated by a study in 1998. Like the sun, it is estimated that all the fuel of proxima will be consumed before the thermonuclear fusion comes to an end. The temperature measure is about 270,000,000 Kelvini and it is too hot emit x-ray. The estimated age of the star is 4.85 x 10^9 years

List of Observatories that observed Proxima Centauri:
  • European Southern Observatory
  • Union Observatory Jahannesburg
  • Einstein Observatory
  • XMM-Newton Observatory
  • Chandra Observatory 
  • Hubble Space Telescope 
Satellites which observed Proxima:
  • ROSAT 
 Mostly cited Research Papers in referred journals:
  1.  Anglada-Escudé, Guillem, et al. "A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri." Nature 536.7617 (2016): 437-440.
  2. Benedict, G. Fritz, et al. "Interferometric Astrometry of Proxima Centauri and Barnard's Star Using HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE Fine Guidance Sensor 3: Detection Limits for Substellar Companions." The Astronomical Journal 118.2 (1999): 1086.


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