It is believed that “super-earths” can form near the so-called snow line – the minimum distance from a star at which water can turn into ice. A recently discovered planet near the star closest to the Sun violates this theory, allowing scientists to take a fresh look at the formation of such cosmic bodies.
A planet discovered near Proxima Centauri. It exceeds the mass of the Earth, but is inferior to such ice giants as Uranus and Neptune. The full rotation cycle around a star is 5.2 Earth years. Scientists say that her study can get an idea of how small planets form near small-mass stars.
The planet was discovered thanks to a large submillimeter array (ALMA) at the Chile observatory. Initially, signals that could belong to an unknown cosmic body or an unexplored phenomenon were tracked. After analyzing the results of 17.5-year observations and using the technique of detecting exoplanets, it was possible to find out that the object passes around the star every 1900 Earth days, which eliminates the possibility of cyclic shifts in the magnetic field of Proxima Centauri.
Currently, the existence of the planet has not yet been officially proven. Astronomers are studying additional information that can shed light on the formation of “super-earths” beyond the snow line.