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NExSS Proxima Portal

In August 2016 the Pale Red Dot team, led by astronomer Guillem Anglada-Escude from Queen Mary, University of London, discovered a rocky exoplanet in the orbit of our closest stellar neighbor, Proxima Centauri. The planet, Proxima Centauri b has a minimum mass of 1.3 Earth masses and orbits within the ‘habitable zone’ of it’s red dwarf host star, making it a key target for continued observation, characterization and modeling studies. The system is 4.2 light years from the Earth.

An extraordinary response from the scientific community following the discovery of Proxima Centauri b has resulted in a large number of scientific journal articles, blogs, and social media posts. One of NExSS’s largest teams, the Virtual Planetary Laboratory at the University of Washington, has contributed significantly to the scientific literature on our early understanding of the potential habitability of this new world.  Here, we attempt to bring some of the seminal papers outlining the discovery, properties and potential habitability of this new planet together in one place in order to facilitate discussion and future collaborative research efforts.

Seminal Papers

Confirmed Discovery

Author: Anglada-Escude et al. (2016)
Title: A terrestrial planet candidate in a temperate orbit around Proxima Centauri


First Habitability Assessments (Chronological)

Author: Airapetian et al. (2017)
Title: How Hospitable Are Space Weather Affected Habitable Zones? The Role of Ion Escape


Author: Dong et al. (2017)
Title: Is Proxima Centauri B Habitable? - A Study of Atmospheric Loss


Author: Ribas et al. (2016)
Title: The habitability of Proxima Centauri b. I. Irradiation, rotation and volatile inventory from formation to the present


Author: Turbet et al. (2016)
Title: The habitability of Proxima Centauri b II. Possible climates and Observability


Author: Barnes et al. (2016)
Title: The Habitability of Proxima Centauri b I: Evolutionary Scenarios


Author: Goldblatt et al. (2016)
Title: Tutorial models of the climate and habitability of Proxima Centauri b: a thin atmosphere is sufficient to distribute heat given low stellar flux


Author: Meadows et al. (2016)
Title: The Habitability of Proxima Centauri b: II: Environmental States and Observational Discriminants


Formation and Characterization

Author: Zahnle & Catling (2017)
Title: The cosmic shoreline: the evidence that escape determines which planets have atmospheres, and what this may mean for Proxima Centauri b


Author: Bixel & Apai (2017)
Title: Probabilistic Constraints on the Mass and Composition of Proxima B


Author: Brown (2017)
Title: On the eccentricity of Proxima b


Author: Kane et al. (2017)
Title: On the Orbital Inclination of Proxima Centauri B


Author: Mesa et al. (2017)
Title: Upper limits for mass and radius of objects around Proxima Cen from SPHERE/VLT


Author: Garraffo et al. (2016)
Title: The Space Weather of Proxima Centauri b


Author: Brugger et al. (2016)
Title: Possible internal structures and compositions of Proxima Centauri b


Author: Luger et al. (2016)
Title: The Pale Green Dot: A method to characterize Proxima Centauri b using exo-aurorae


Author: Turbet et al. (2016)
Title: Exploring plausible formation scenarios for the planet candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri


Author: Kreidberg & Loeb (2016)
Title: Prospects for Characterizing the Atmosphere of Proxima Centauri b


Direct Survey Feasibility

Author: Heller & Hippke (2017)
Title: Deceleration of high-velocity interstellar photon sails into bound orbits at ⍺ Centauri





Proxima Centauri Discussions

This website is being run by Knowinnovation Inc. and is supported by the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI). LPI is operated by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) under a cooperative agreement with NASA. The purpose of this site is to facilitate communication from and between scientists that are part of the Nexus for Exoplanet Systems Science (NExSS). Although NExSS is led by researchers whose funding comes from NASA, NExSS is a community endeavor. As such, any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.