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Proxima Centauri b: November 2017


Is there life beyond Earth in the cosmos? Astronomers looking for signs have found that our Milky Way galaxy teems with exoplanets, some with conditions that could be right for extraterrestrial life.

Proxima~Centauri is known as the closest star from the Sun. Recently, radial velocity observations revealed the existence of an Earth--mass planet around it. With an orbital period of ∼11 days, the surface of Proxima Centauri b is temperate and might be habitable.

The scenario and the efficiency of water transport by icy asteroids and comets are still amongst the most important unresolved questions about the early phases of planetary systems.

Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our Sun, is known to host at least one terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit. Here we report the ALMA detection of the star at 1.3 mm wavelength and the discovery of a belt of dust orbiting around it at distances ranging between 1 and 4 au, approximately.