Proxima Centauri is the closest star to ourselves. It is a red dwarf – the most common star type in the constellation – and hosts at least two surrounding planets. One is in the “cultivation zone”, which is called the distance from the star where it receives the right heat and light to allow melt water. It is also similar in another important way to our own planet, with a mass similar to the size of the Earth. Recent measurements put its minimum mass about 17% higher than our planetary home.
The fact that our nearest stellar neighbor may have a planet with lakes and oceans and surface gravity similar to our own is of particular interest to those hoping to one day explore the stars; after all, water is as vital to life as we know it. If there is a lot of water in this planet, at the very least, it could be a potential place for human settlement. Even more interesting is the possibility that it could be a planet around which life has grown independently.
However, researchers should occasionally encourage their commitment. It turns out that this planet, called Proxima Centauri b, may not be an elegant region. In fact, it may be a hell of an environment. Scientists have recently mentioned in an article in Astrophysical Iris that its parent star is invading the planet with explosions of radiation and charged particles, which could sterilize the planet despite its location in the inhabited realm. (An introductory version of the article is accessible to the public.) Although astronomers have long known Proxima Centauri to emit solar flames, the recent observation proves that it is a much larger object. dangerous.
Many of the stars are turbulent, including times when a large cloud of energy-packed and magnetized plasma erupts from the solar corona to space. An event like this is called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, and these occur with our own sun. They are not dangerous to humans, because our planet is protected by a magnetic field. However, they are dangerous to our technology. If CME hits strong enough on Earth, it would play havoc with our electronic society, destroying our telecommunications capability and potentially wreaking power over a large part of the planet. CME in 1859 introduced so much electric current that there were reports of metal rail rails. And a smaller CME in 1989 exported power to Quebec and parts of the northeastern parts of the United States for nine hours.
In a recent paper, astronomers watched Proxima Centauri simultaneously with optical and radio telescopes. They were the first to watch simultaneous light and radio broadcasts from a distant star. They concluded that they were seeing a Type IV stellar explosion, which is compatible with CME.
CMEs from Proxima Centauri would be far more damaging to Proxima Centauri b than what happens in our own solar system. This is because Proxima Centauri is both small and tiny. It has only 12% of our solar mass and emits just 0.17% as much energy. In terms of visible light, it emits only about 0.005% as much light. About 85% of the energy it emits is infrared.
Due to such low energy production, the arable zone is much closer to the star than the Earth to the Sun. For example, Proxima Centauri ba orbits its parent star at a distance of about 5% of the celestial unit (AU), where one AU is the distance between the Earth and the Sun. The orbit is so small that its year is just over 11 days. In comparison, 39% of AU has a Mercury orbit, with a year of 88 days.
It is the proximity of Proxima Centauri b to the parent star that puts it in such great danger. Given its proximity, a massive coronal explosion from Proxima Centauri is likely to hit the planet’s head. At such a long distance, the planet is hit by a CME hot plasma. It is likely that this plasma barrier would often blow the planet’s atmosphere away and expose the planet’s surface to very intense x-rays and ultraviolet radiation.
The Earth’s magnetic field protects the Earth from such growth, and it is possible that Proxima Centauri b also has a magnetic field. But the planet’s magnetic field had to be much stronger than ours to protect it.
Interracial space is vast and it will take decades or centuries before humanity is ready to travel among the stars. It would certainly have been convenient for the stellar neighbor closest to us to host a planet that may have given humanity another home. However, it seems that this should not be the case. Interstellar researchers need to look a little further to find the second Earth.