An analysis of cyclical changes in the light spectrum emitted by Proxima Centauri, the star closest to the Sun, suggests it may be orbited by a second planet. This candidate planet orbits Proxima Centauri every 5.2 years and may be a “super-Earth,” with a mass higher than Earth’s, though much lower than that of the Solar System ice giants Uranus and Neptune.
Long a staple of science fiction, the possibility of habitable planets orbiting a pair of stars has been a challenge to solve for astronomers. But a recent analysis has shown that double sunsets may be just as common in our galaxy as the solitary kind that we know on Earth, and this has big implications for our search for life outside the Solar System.
A good fraction of the stars in our galaxy are in binary pairs (or part of even larger collectives). When it comes to finding life beyond Earth, we’re most interested in sunlike stars, and for them it’s split 50/50, with half flying solo and the other half making friends.
Note: The planet Tatooine in Star Wars orbited a pair of stars.