Inside the Search for Life on ‘Nearby’ Proxima b

Aurorae aside, Proxima b’s severe space weather doesn’t create the prettiest of pictures, at least to human eyes. “We’ve seen 10 huge flares over the span of a few weeks time,” said Matthews. “We estimate the star has flares which we would consider major flares on the sun two or three times a day. Even at its quietest it’s still pretty loud.”

That’s just what occurred while MOST happened to be looking. The team’s statistical analysis, led by James Davenport of Western Washington University, suggests that superflares 10 times stronger than anything ever observed on our sun would be produced eight times a year. To make matters worse, Proxima b has a front row seat, 20 times closer to its sun than we are to ours.