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Star serves up a planet

2022-12-13

Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/03/05

The star Proxima Centauri, on March, 2017, produced a massive solar flare. The evidence comes from new analysis of observations of it. That big flare is an issue for its orbiting satellites, planets and so on.

One of closest planets, Proxima b, did not likely have a good go of it, if thinking in terms of potential life on the planet. The star brightened by 10³ times in only 10 seconds with a rapid dimming again. Quite remarkable.

Proxima b, compared to the Earth, is far, far closer to its own solar system’s star. It receives about 4*10³ more radiation than the Earth from its own solar flares, from the Sun.

It simply doesn’t compare in scale, really. MacGregor, one of the researchers in the paper, said, “If there are flares like this at all frequently, then [the exoplanet] is likely not in the best shape.”

That planet is one of the places hoped-for to have life on it. It is only 4 light years away and a potential candidate to find our cosmic cousins. Its own mass is comparable to Earth’s and has temperature likely suitable for water.

The star is a M dwarf or a star class prone to notorious flares that can rip the atmosphere right from the surface of the planet, including Proxima b.

It took analysis and later re-analysis by two separate teams, respectively, to see that the solar flare was in fact a solar flare and not another solar system occurrence. Hopefully, Proximarians (of the b type) didn’t have to move planet.

References

Anglada, G. et al. (2017, November 15). ALMA Discovery of Dust Belts around Proxima Centauri. Retrieved from http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/aa978b/meta.

Grossman, L. (2018, March 5). Massive stellar flare may have fried Earth’s nearest exoplanet. Retrieved from https://www.sciencenews.org/article/proxima-centauri-flare-may-have-fried-earths-nearest-exoplanet.

MacGregor, M. et al. (2018, February 26). Detection of a Millimeter Flare from Proxima Centauri. Retrieved from http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/2041-8213/aaad6b.

License

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at www.in-sightpublishing.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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