On 24 August, 2016 a team led by Guillem Anglada-Escudé of Queen Mary University of London, confirmed the existence of Proxima Centauri B, an exoplanet revolving around the star Proxima Century.
In the last few years, thousands of exoplanets have been found orbiting other stars, which can possibly harness life, but the discovery of Proxima B is more significant than any other exoplanet discovery.
In our hunt for exoplanets, we have wandered far and wide into space-time and what we have found is that there is one just next door. Proxima Century is the least distant star from us, a mere 4.2 lightyears away. Although this is a really large distance but within the cosmic scale, this is like in our backyard.
If in the future, we want to send probes to an exoplanet then Proxima B is gonna be our first choice because of how close it is to us compared with other exoplanets most of which are thousands of lightyears away .
Proxima B is 1.3 times the mass of the earth and orbits a red dwarf star every 11.2 days. This means that it is most probably rocky (just like earth) and revolves very close to its parent’s star. Red dwarf stars are one of the smallest stars out there. Proxima Century is only about 12% the mass of our sun.
Proxima B is in a close orbit of Proxima Centauri: only 5% of the distance between the earth and the sun. They are even closer together than Mercury and the sun. But because its star is much cooler and fainter than our sun, Proxima B has a temperature that is suitable for liquid water to exist on the surface without evaporating.