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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The closest to the Sun star was very similar to it

Red dwarf Proxima Centauri, orbiting a newly discovered earth-like planet, like the Sun to a greater extent than expected so far. This was reported by the group of experts of the Harvard-Smithsonian center for astrophysics. According to them, it is that the activity of stars changes according to the cycles observed like in the Sun.

photo: pixabay.com

At first glance, Proxima Centauri, slightly reminiscent of the Sun is quite cold for little stars red dwarf is ten times less massive and a thousand times less bright than our star. However, one very significant thing in common, the two stars still there is a continuous cycle fluctuations in the activity of the Sun lasts about 11 years, and Proxima Centauri is about seven. At what stage of this cycle is the star, depends on how often it appear on the spot and how many spots on average, you can watch it at the same time. During periods of minimum activity these spots, which is a slightly cooler areas on the surface of the star disappear completely.

According to experts, the sunspots arise from the fact that in it there are processes, in part similar to boiling water, while the “outer” part of the Sun is relatively calm. At the same time, for red dwarfs like this should be unusual, because their inner part should not be fundamentally different from external. However, the observation of scientists found that Proxima Centauri, periodic variations in activity occur.

The interest in Proxima Centauri, both scientists and among the General public increased significantly after the orbit it was discovered a very Earth-like planet called Proxima Centauri b, Proxima or just b. Its mass is just 20 percent higher than the earth, and it is in the so-called “habitable zone” of its star. This means that the temperature must be suitable to maintain the water in liquid form, which in turn scientists believe necessary condition for the emergence of life. Further research has enabled the specialists with high probability to assume that Proxima b-covered ocean of liquid water, in which case the probability that she inhabited, grows even stronger. At the same time, skeptics note that the exoplanet is very close to its star, and that could mean that flash on the latter and stellar wind will not allow life to emerge or, even more, to gain a foothold. Thus, any information about the activity of Proxima Centauri indirectly helping scientists to get closer to the answer to the question, can there be life on the territory of the nearest star system.

By the way, in July for the first time in almost two years with the Sun gone are all the spots that, according to astrophysicists, says about the imminent transition of our sun in a new, phase eleven-year cycle. Its minimum solar activity, the researchers predict will reach 2019-2020, after which it will begin to grow again.


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