Thursday, 24 December 2020

Mysterious radio wave from space perplexes scientists

The possible existence of extraterrestrial life is always exciting to think about. Scientists in search of extraterrestrial life are now studying a mysterious radio wave coming from Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun.

Proxima Centauri is a really small, low-mass star located 4.2465 light-years (1.3020 pc) away from the Sun in the southern constellation of Centaurus. Its Latin name means the "nearest [star] of Centaurus". This interesting object was discovered in 1915 by Robert Innes and is the nearest-known star to the Sun. With a quiescent apparent magnitude 11.13, it is too faint to be seen with the unaided eye. Proxima Centauri is a member of the Alpha Centauri system, being identified as component Alpha Centauri C, and is 2.18° to the southwest of the Alpha Centauri AB pair. It is currently 12,950 AU (0.2 ly) from AB, which it orbits with a period of about 550,000 years.

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star with a mass about an 8th of the Sun's mass (M☉), and average density about 33 times that of the Sun.

Because of Proxima Centauri's proximity to Earth, its angular diameter can be measured directly. Its actual diameter is about one-seventh the diameter of the Sun.

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