Scientists at Exeter university applied the UK Meteorological Office’s computer model of weather and climate to Proxima B, an Earthlike body discovered last year in orbit around Proxima Centauri, a star that lies just 4 light years away.
Although hard information about Proxima B will remain sparse until astronomers have made further observations, Exeter’s exoplanet experts say they already know enough to use the Met Office model to make preliminary simulations of its climate — a step toward the long-term goal of finding out whether conditions there could support life.
First results, published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, suggest that Proxima B could indeed be habitable. The Exeter astronomers made various assumptions about the planet’s atmospheric composition and its movement around its parent star. These suggest that it has a remarkably stable climate regime.