Massive Telescope Will Be Upgraded to Study the Nearest Exoplanets to Earth

One of the biggest space stories of 2016 was the discovery of the Earth-scale planet Proxima b in orbit around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun.

By Becky Ferreira | MOTHERBOARD

Located only 4.2 light years away, Proxima b is the nearest known exoplanet ever detected. The newly found world was pinpointed by a European Southern Observatory (ESO) team, and sparked a surge of interest about the planet’s finer properties, including its potential to host life.

Now, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), a workhorse optical telescope located in Chile, has committed to the effort to characterize this tantalizing planet-next-door, and spot any other planets that might be orbiting Proxima Centauri.

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