Our nearest neighboring star, Proxima Centauri, may be harboring an extensive solar system, as scientists believe they’ve found a third planet orbiting it. From a report: It’s a find that re-emphasizes just how commonplace planets outside our Solar System may be — and it provides us with a third possible world nearby to study and potentially explore. Located a little more than 4 light-years from Earth, Proxima Centauri has long captured the imagination of scientists and sci-fi enthusiasts as a prime place to visit if we ever venture far outside our Solar System. The celestial object became even more intriguing in 2016 when astronomers found a planet orbiting around it. Called Proxima b, the planet is located in the star’s habitable zone, where temperatures may be just right for water to pool on the surface. Just a few years later, a second planet, called Proxima c, was discovered around the star, too. With the discovery of this third likely exoplanet, called Proxima d, Proxima Centauri is possibly home to a wide array of worlds. While we do not have the means to travel to Proxima Centauri yet in any kind of reasonable time frame, these planets might be the first places we’d visit if we ever do develop such a capability. For now, their close proximity to Earth makes them prime candidates for follow-up study and observations. Astronomers say they could help us in our ever-evolving quest to understand how planets form around distant stars.
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