The motion of Proxima Centauri in 2016, revealing the fingerprints of a planet

This plot shows how the motion of Proxima Centauri towards and away from Earth is changing with time over the first half of 2016. Sometimes Proxima Centauri is approaching Earth at about 5 kilometres per hour — normal human walking pace — and at times receding at the same speed. This regular pattern of changing radial velocities repeats with a period of 11.2 days. Careful analysis of the resulting tiny Doppler shifts showed that they indicated the presence of a planet with a mass at least 1.3 times that of the Earth, orbiting about 7 million kilometres from Proxima Centauri — only 5% of the Earth-Sun distance.


ESO/G. Anglada-Escudé

About the Image

Release date:24 August 2016, 19:00
Related releases:eso1629
Size:10034 x 3362 px

About the Object

Name:Proxima b, Proxima Centauri
Type:Local Universe : Star : Circumstellar Material : Planetary System

Image Formats

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1.4 MB
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450.4 KB
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