Under the light of a red sun: Prospects for life on Proxima b

Speaker: 
Jaymie Matthews (UBC Physics & Astronomy)
Event Date and Time: 
Mon, 2016-10-17 15:30 - 16:45
Location: 
Hennings 318
Local Contact: 
Jaymie Matthews
Intended Audience: 
Graduate
A minimum-Earth=mass planet, dubbed Proxima b, was recently discovered in the Habitable Zone of the next nearest star after the Sun, Proxima Centauri a. The detection was made through radial velocity measurements, but the MOST space telescope was also used to search for transits and assess the flare and spot activity of the M5.5V star. Could Proxima b support life? What are the pros and cons for habitability of planets around M dwarf stars? What are the next steps to explore the Proxima system - remotely through infrared spectroscopy and imaging, and directly through Breakthrough Starshot?
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