In 2016 a team of astronomers sparked debates when they announced the discovery of an exoplanet similar to Earth, which orbits the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, which is our closest stellar neighbor. Many researchers have been looking for another star in the same system, and a new discovery may have taken place.
A team of researchers has been looking for the second star with the help of the Sphere Instrument, which is mounted on the Very Large Telescope. A strange signal has been detected, and it is thought that it could not be caused by random noise.
This detection has raised the interest of the researchers, but they have also decided to take a safe path and mentioned that the detections weren’t clear. Many studies have explored other objects found in the solar system, but in this case, the problem is represented by the sheer distance to the potential objects.
Initial signs were observed in January in the form of a periodic signal. The signal suggested a variation in the velocity of the star, which may be influenced by the existence of a second planet that could be located at a considerably higher distance away from the star.
Data collected over four years during the SHIME survey has been analyzed by the researchers in an attempt to uncover more information. The signal found at first marks the presence of a speck of light that could be a planet.
Several researchers have already reacted to the paper and the potential results. One of them argued that it is important to interpret the new information with caution since it is not clear how the team calculated the ratio between signal and noise. Several background sources could have generated the supposed signal in an inconspicuous manner.
At this point, it cannot be said if the planet does exist, but further research will take place in the future.