Image: Artist’s impression of the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri (annotated). This artist’s impression shows a view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System. The double star Alpha Centauri AB also appears in the image. Proxima b is a little more massive than the Earth and orbits in the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri, where the temperature is suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface.Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
ESO’s photographers, graphic designers and artists produce some of the world’s most stunning visuals of observatories, astronomical phenomena and distant worlds. This video brings these elements together, to tell the story of Proxima b, the recently discovered Earth-like planet orbiting our nearest star. From ESO’s Paranal and La Silla observatories, which made the discovery, viewers are transported to the Proxima system and the surface of the Earth-like planet found there.
The music for this montage is provided by ESO Music Ambassador, Konstantino Polizois, perfectly complementing the images and adding an ethereal wonder. Credit:ESO/Konstantino Polizois/Nico Bartmann. Music: Konstantino Polizois.
ESOcast 87: Planet Found Around Closest Star
This is the ESOcast that no viewer will want to miss. We discuss the result of the quest to find a planet around the closest star to the Solar System.
The Pale Red Dot campaign aimed to find a planet orbiting our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri. Incredibly, the quest succeeded and the team did indeed find a planet. Even more excitingly, the planet, Proxima b, falls within the habitable zone of its host star. The newly discovered Proxima b is by far the closest potential abode for alien life.
In this ESOcast, the results of this groundbreaking research are explained in detail, providing insights into the following points:
- The extensive verification process the team went through to ensure this result was accurate.
- The factors for and against the possibility of life on Proxima b.
- The nature of a “habitable zone” around a star.
The discovery of Proxima b is a major science result, making this ESOcast a must for those of you curious about one of the most intriguing questions in astronomy — “are we alone?”
Editing: Herbert Zodet.
Web and technical support: Mathias André and Raquel Yumi Shida.
Written by: Calum Turner, Richard Hook and Eleanor Spring
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa.
Music: STAN DART (www.stan-dart.com) and Mylonite – MRP (Mylonite Recordz Production).
Footage and photos: ESO, L. Calçada, M. Kornmesser, Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org), Alexandre Santerne (Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço) / Planetário do Porto – Centro Ciência Viva, C. Malin (christophmalin.com), NASA, ESA, F. Pont (Exeter University, UK), A. Lecavelier des Etangs (IAP/CNRS/UPMC, France), NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, ACe Consortium, B. Tafreshi (twanight.org), PHL @ UPR Arecibo, Liam Young/Unknown Fields, Alain Maury/spaceobs observatory, S. Brunier and Y. Beletsky (LCO).
Directed by: Herbert Zodet.
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen.