ASU Nexus for Exoplanet System Science

ALMA Discovers Dust Belts around Proxima Centauri

This is an artist’s representation of Proxima Centauri, Proxima Centauri b, and the glowing dust belts around them. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

After probing the cosmic skies for a while, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has unearthed that Proxima Centauri has two dust belts around it. One is much closer to this star, while the other is a significant distance away. Both dust belts are clear indications of planetary formation that could have occurred within the gravitational bounds of Proxima Centauri. A clear hint to this is that within the cosmic space between Proxima Centauri and the inner dust belt lies a planet known as Proxima Centauri b. This is the nearest known exoplanet to Earth. For all we know, there could be more exoplanets that might form an even more distinct planetary system, especially between the dust belts themselves.

In terms of gas, dust, and rock remnant compositions, these belts have an arrangement much similar to that of the Asteroid-Kuiper dust belt system found in our Solar system.

Detailed descriptions of this discovery can be found at this published paper.

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