Probabilistic constraints on the mass and composition of proxima B

Alex Bixel, Dániel Apai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies regarding the habitability, observability, and possible orbital evolution of the indirectly detected exoplanet Proxima b have mostly assumed a planet with M ∼ 1.3 M, a rocky composition, and an Earth-like atmosphere or none at all. In order to assess these assumptions, we use previous studies of the radii, masses, and compositions of super-Earth exoplanets to probabilistically constrain the mass and radius of Proxima b, assuming an isotropic inclination probability distribution. We find it is ∼ 90% likely that the planet's density is consistent with a rocky composition; conversely, it is at least 10% likely that the planet has a significant amount of ice or an H/He envelope. If the planet does have a rocky composition, then we find expectation values and 95% confidence intervals of (M)rocky= 1.63+1.66-0.72Mfor its mass and (R)rocky= 1.07+0.38-0.31Rfor its radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Feb 8 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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