Astronomers have discovered one of the secrets of the nearest star system


Astronomers have discovered a cool ring of cosmic dust surrounding the nearest star of the solar system - the dark red dwarf Proxima Centauri. The discovery suggests that this star, among other things being home to the Earth's closest planet, scientists discovered last year, may be part of a much more complex planetary system than ever before.

Using data from the Atamak Large Antenna Array Kit (ALMA), a collection of radio telescopes located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, the team was able to identify a faint glow that appeared to be in a dust belt surrounding Centaurus Proxima a few hundred million kilometers away. Scientists say the belt consists of a different type of cosmic material (rocks, dust), as well as ice and has a very low temperature of about -230 degrees Celsius, making it as cool as a Ku-Ku belt in our solar system.

Since these space belts are usually a surplus in the matter of the rising disk orbiting the star and acting as a source of matter for the formation of new planets, it would be logical to assume that there may be more planets within this star system than we are now able to detect.

    "The presence of dust around Proxima is a very important indicator because it is the first sign that there is a more complex planetary system, not just one planet," says astronomer Guillaume Anglada. Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia.

More data collection forced scientists to make another assumption, under which the system could surround an additional belt of cosmic dust, about ten times the star. After collecting and analyzing all the data, astronomers created a small fee for how Proxima Centauri appeared (pictured below). Most researchers were intrigued by the fact that it was about 1.6 astronomical units from the star.

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"According to one alternative model, on the inner ring boundary, at a distance of about 1.6 ae of the star is an unknown source of interference, which could be a planet." Giant planet, "the researchers said in the published results of their work.

This Unknown Source is highlighted by the number 3 in the picture above. Despite the fact that previous long-term observations of Centaurus Proxima showed no signs of such a planet, the researchers are not yet ready to rule out such a possibility.

    "To confirm or refute this assumption, additional observations will be made to the system," scientists added.

So far, only one planet has been confirmed in Proxima Centauri's system. Proxima b (the so-called planet) was confirmed in August 2016 by scientists from the Southern European Observatory. At the same time it was announced that Proxima b is the closest to the outer planet, located in the populated area. In just two months, scientists issued a new statement, reporting the completion of calculations showing that Proxima B could be covered with liquid water and had a thin gas cover, which would certainly increase the possibility of housing.

Earlier this year, we discovered that despite its basic attractiveness, the Proxima b had a serious flaw. This defect is the red dwarf, the star around which the planet revolves. The unsteady behavior of the dwarf and the stellar wind that it orbits towards the planet probably makes it a difficult place to live. Moreover, some astronomers believe that the power of these astrocytes is so strong that it actually exits the thin atmosphere of Proxima B, making this world lifeless. Not everyone agrees with these conclusions. However, there are those who consider the planet a true paradise and our future home.

Final conclusions about Proxima B are not yet possible. The real state of affairs surrounding it is probably not known until we send a spacecraft to collect more scientific data. But we now know about the existence of many rings around the system, which can be an indication of the presence of more planets in it. This, in turn, makes the space trip there more than desirable.

    "These results suggest a real system of planets in Proxima Centauri with a rich history of interplay that has turned into the formation of this dust loop," Englada said.

At the same time, scientists add that constant monitoring of neighboring systems increases our knowledge of the birth of our solar system.

      "Such observations, coupled with studies of planetary disks around young stars, could reveal a lot of details about the processes that led to the formation of the Earth and the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago," says one researcher. The Andalusian astronomical institute, astronomer Pedro Amado.

The results of the study described today will soon be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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