Closest Star To Our Sun Has A Planet That Could Support Life

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<p>(ESO/M. Kornmesser)</p>
<p>This artist’s impression shows 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 between the planet and Proxima itself. 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.</p>
Photo: Sky around Proxima Centauri
This image of the sky around the bright star Alpha Centauri AB also shows the much fainter red dwarf star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our own solar system.

The nearest star to the sun is orbited by a planet that could possibly support life, scientists announced last week. Proxima Centauri is a red-dwarf star just over 4 light years away, making it our stellar next-door neighbor. Its newly discovered planet, named Proxima b, is in the “habitable zone” - an orbit that would allow planet temperatures to sustain liquid water. Doug Duncan, director of the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, says that the search for exoplanets is the frontier of astronomy. Duncan spoke with Colorado Matters' host Ryan Warner.