Universe Guide

Where is the nearest Extra Solar Planet (Exoplanet) to us?

The nearest extrasolar planet (exoplanet) is in orbit round the star Proxima Centauri. The star is in the southern constellation of Centaurus. The star is calculated at being about 4.22 light years away from us which compared to other stars, its extremely close. Even though it is close by, it would take 4.22 years travelling at the speed of light to get there. We don't have the technology to make the distance yet.

Neither the star nor the exoplanet can be seen with the naked eye as they are both too dim to be spotted. Proxima is one of three stars that make up Rigil Kentaurus multiple star system. The star consists of three stars, Alpha, Beta and Proxima.

Unfortunately, the star is flare star and any atmosphere surrounding the planet would have been destroyed. We can all but rule out there being life on the planet. The planet does orbit in the Goldilocks Zone of the planet but that isn't sufficient enough to support life.

Proxima is a red dwarf star meaning it is a cool star, one that is smaller than our own star. The Goldilocks Zone would be closer in to the star than we are with the sun. Red Dwarfs are the best places to search for exoplanets because the effect of an orbiting planet is much greater than that of a larger star. The displacement caused by a planet orbiting is one way in which scientists detect if an exoplanet is in orbit.

The only time that record could be stolen is if there is a rogue planet out there waiting to be discovered. Planets unlike stars do not give off heat so spotting them is much harder. It was once and still is that our young solar system ejected a planet from the system so it does exist then that would be the nearest.

Second closest Exoplanet to Us

The next closest planet to us that has been found is in orbit around Barnard's Star, a star in the constellation of Ophiuchus. This star is about 5.95 light years away. Like the star before, it is not visible to the naked eye. The star is also a red dwarf star, amongst the smallest stars in the universe and also one of the most common.

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