European Southern Observatory (ESO) officials have finally confirmed that they have discovered a new exoplanet candidate named Proxima b inside the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri – a red dwarf star in our closest neighbouring star system, Alpha Centauri.
This is gigantic news, because it means an Earth-like planet could lie just 4.2 light-years away from us, and has the potential to support life. Further research is needed to confirm the characteristics of its atmosphere and the possibility of liquid water on its surface, but the team already has plans on how to get us there.
“Many exoplanets have been found and many more will be found, but searching for the closest potential Earth-analog and succeeding has been the experience of a lifetime for all of us,” team member Guillem Anglada-Escudé from Queen Mary University of London told the press today.
Named Proxima b, the exoplanet candidate orbits Proxima Centauri – a red dwarf that lies within the Alpha Centauri star system in the constellation Centaurus. This is the closest star system to Earth, making Proxima b the closest Earth-like exoplanet ever found. Source: CONFIRMED: An Earth-like planet has been found in our closest neighbouring star system