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Unveiling the secrets of Proxima Centauri's environment

Berdiñas, Zaira M.

Proxima Centauri is our closest neighbor. In 2016, we reported the discovery of an exoplanet candidate orbiting in a temperate orbit around this cool star: Proxima b, with an orbital period of only 11.2 days, a semi-major-axis distance of 0.05 au, and a minimum mass of 1.3 Earth masses. This discovery was the main result of the Pale Red Dot campaign in which we combined HARPS radial velocity data with photometric simultaneous observations taken from small-medium size telescopes in different locations. The proximity of Proxima Centauri offers an unique opportunity to apply our knowledge about the Solar system in a new system. In this talk, I will review our knowledge of the Proxima Centauri system from the Proxima b detection to our recent discovery of a dust belt at 1-4 au using ALMA 1.3 mm observations. Such a belt is thought to have a total mass of 0.01 Earth masses, reseambleing the solar Kuiper belt in a smaller scale. In addition to this Kuiper belt analog, our ALMA images show hints for a warmer and a hotter disk as well as an unknown emission source at a projected distance of about 1.2 arcsec from the star. The possible nature of this source as well as the current and future prospects on the study of the Proxima system will be presented in this talk.

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