Potential alien home discovered: Harvard physicist finds Earth-like planet orbiting around sun four light years away

By Guneet Bhatia | Oct 14, 2016 07:18 AM EDT

Home to aliens could be potentially located within the reach of Earth. These are the findings of a recent study conducted by a team of Harvard researchers.

Early in 2016, a team of astronomers discovered potentially habitable planet called "Proxima B." The planet revolved around the smallest star of the three-star system called "Proxima Centauri," in a system nearly four millions years away.

Proxima B could become one of the firsts planets to be visited by rovers designed as a part of space mission conducted by scientists on Earth, according to Morning News USA. This is because the planet has a lot of similarities with the only known habitable planet to humans - Earth - and is expected to have just the right conditions for it to be habitable.

Now the researchers have figured out that its star, Proxima Centauri, may possess similar characteristics to that of Earth. It is believes that Proxima Centauri generates stellar winds that affects the atmosphere of Proxima B, according to Daily Mail.

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Proxima Centauri, the smallest of the Alpha Centuari star system, is nearly one-tenth the size of the sun. In addition, the cooler star has dark spots called "starspots" on its surface, which appear because of its strong magnetic fields. These fields interrupt the flow of plasma, resulting in cooler "dark" spots on its surface.

The appearance of starspots is dependent on the solar cycle of the sun. It is predicted that at the peak time, Proxima Centauri is 20 percent covered by such spots.

It is still not clear whether such an activity has an effect on the potential like of Proxima B. But the researchers predict that a stellar activity with this much intensity is bound to negatively affect the atmosphere of the planets that get exposed to it.

There are still years to go before before a mission is launched to directly observe Proxima B. Till then, the researchers are planning to study its star and notice the interaction between the star and the planet to confirm whether Proxima B could actually be an alien home.

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