HEMI Fellow Sarah Hörst Discusses Proxima b and ‘Habitable Zone’ of Nearby Proxima Centauri System

Sep 1, 2016 | No Comments | By Michelle Pagano

HEMI Fellow Sarah Hörst sat down with the JHU HUB to discuss the recent discovery of Proxima b and what ‘habitable zone’ actually means when exploring the Proxima Centauri system.


To offer some perspective on what some are calling “an astronomy dream come true” and Earth 2.0, the Hub reached out to Sarah Hörst, an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Hörst’s research focuses on atmospheric chemistry and complex organics found in our solar system—and beyond.

We spoke with Hörst while she was coincidentally attending the second annual Ocean Worlds conference at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. We assume Proxima b came up once or twice among those gathered.

I’ll admit, I was a little geeked out when I heard the news. An Earth-like world, potentially habitable and so relatively close. What was your initial reaction to the new exoplanet, and is this level of excitement justified?

A lot of people have mentioned being really excited about the news, which makes me exceedingly happy. Ultimately, I really want the public to understand what we do and to be inspired to look up and think about worlds far beyond our own. For me, every new world that we learn about is another piece to the “how worlds work” puzzle that we are trying to put together, so I am always excited when we learn about other worlds.

Check out the full article here.

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