The star nearest to our sun may host a habitable planet 

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A few months ago, astronomers announced the existence of a potentially habitable planet outside our solar system.

A recent study has furthered the hope that Proxima b is, indeed, capable of supporting life.

The team, which was led by researchers at the Marseille Astrophysics Laboratory, came to this exciting conclusion after calculating the orb's dimensions and surface properties.

Doing so was no simple task as such assessments largely rely upon knowing a body's measurements overall, and the radius in particular.

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Exoplanet Proxima b
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Exoplanet Proxima b
A view of the surface of the planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
The planet Proxima b orbiting the red dwarf star Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our Solar System, is seen in an undated artist's impression released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016. ESO/M. Kornmesser/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
A view of the southern skies over the European Southern Observatory (ESO) 3.6-metre (11.8 foot) telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile with images of the stars Proxima Centauri (lower-right) and the double star Alpha Centauri AB (lower-left) from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope as seen in an undated image released by the European Southern Observatory August 24, 2016. Y. Beletsky/LCO/ESO/ESA/NASA/M. Zamani/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
GERMANY - JUNE 22: Illustration taken from 'Uranometria' (1603) by Johann Bayer, showing consellations of Centaurus. Alpha Centauri is the star positioned on the front hoof of the centaur. German astronomer and lawyer Johann Bayer (1572-1625) invented the system for naming stars using letters from the Greek alphabet, a system still used today for the brighter stars - those visible to the human eye without the aid of a telescope. 'Uranometria' depicts the positions of nearly 1000 stars in addition to those identified by Tycho Brahe. Alpha Centauri is a double star and the second closest star to our own Sun, 4.35 light years away (only Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf star in the same system is closer). It is a very similar star to the Sun, leading to speculation that it could have planets harbouring life. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
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Typically, that is discovered as result of observing a planet as it moves across and eclipses its star, which, in this case, is Proxima Centauri.

Unfortunately, no such crossing behavior was witnessed, so the scientists had to rely upon alternative means.

Using a model of the planet, the team ran a number of scenarios involving various compositions and mass estimates to come up with probable radius sizes.

From there, they explored the possible material combinations and found one of them was consistent with a planet equipped to accommodate living organisms.

More study is needed, but, so far, the dream of habitability remains alive.

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