Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 8:28 EDT
Proxima Centauri Microlensing Prediction
55 of 999

Proxima Centauri Microlensing Prediction

June 4, 2013
This diagram shows the upcoming conjunction between the nearest star to our Sun, Proxima Centauri, and a distant background star. Proxima's gravitational field warps the space around it. This gravitational lensing effect distorts space like a funhouse mirror and bends the path of light from the background star. The result is that the apparent position of the star will shift slightly during Proxima Centauri's passage, as seen in the upper right diagram. If an unseen planet is orbiting Proxima Centauri the star's apparent position will be further offset, as seen at lower left. Credit: A. Feild (STScI)