The habitability of Proxima Centauri b

In August 2016, a team of researchers lead by G. Anglada-Escude announced the discovery of a planet potentially rocky and temperate around the closest star from the Sun: Proxima Centauri.

A numerical simulation of possible surface temperatures on Proxima Centauri b performed with the LMD Generic Global Climate Model. Here it is hypothized that the planet possesses an Earth-like atmosphere and that it is covered by an ocean (the dashed line is the frontier between the liquid and icy oceanic surface). The planet is in synchronous rotation (like the moon around the Earth), and is seen as a distant observer would do during one full orbit. Credit: M. Turbet et al.

I explored all the possible climates that such planet could harbour: from a global ocean to a completely dry surface, from an airless body to a planet endowed by a very thick atmosphere like Venus ... From this, I derived predictions of spectra and thermal phase curves that should serve as a reference for future observations by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and by the next generation of ground based telescopes (e.g. ELT).

Within a decade it will be possible to image Proxima b and possibly determine whether this exoplanet's surface is habitable.

By Martin Turbet | Design by Andreas Viklund | Inspired by Aymeric Spiga