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 ⊕ for its mass and R ⊕ for its radius.
- methods: numerical
- methods: statistical
- planets and satellites: composition
- planets and satellites: individual (Proxima Centauri b)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science