computing precise forecasts delivering quantitative understanding generating accurate wisdom modeling definitive wisdom assembling probable estimations mapping the future exploring definitive estimations assembling intelligent futures formulating quantitative futures modeling intelligent estimations mapping calibrated estimations generating intelligent predictions exploring accurate estimations crowdsourcing definitive forecasts


Metaculus Help: Spread the word

If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.

Does Proxima have Planets?

Stars don't get much more charismatic than Alpha Centauri, as evidenced by the recent announcement of the $100 million Breakthrough Starshot Initiative that aspires to "allow a flyby mission to reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years from launch."

Hopefully there'll be a "there" there when the mission barrels through. The current Metaculus odds are running 1 in 3 that a potentially habitable planet will be detected by 2020 in orbit around either Alpha Cen A or Alpha Cen B.

But what about Proxima Centauri? At a distance of 4.25 light years, this binocular-ready red dwarf is currently the closest star to the Sun. It orbits the central Alpha Centauri AB binary with a period of roughly a million years. No planets have been found to orbit it... yet.

The Pale Red Dot consortium has recently used the HARPS instrument to obtain 60 nights of ultra-high precision Doppler radial velocity measurements of Proxima. As explained in detail on the consortium's website, they are following up on a tantalizing Doppler signal that might be due to a terrestrial planet with a mass not dissimilar to Earth's, and an orbital period P>10 days. As of April 1, 2016, they report that their observations are complete, but no news of results has yet emerged.

Prior to Dec. 31, 2017, will a paper appear in the peer-reviewed astronomical literature that announces the detection of a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri?


Metaculus help: Predicting

Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.

The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.

The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.

Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.

This question is not yet open for predictions.

Thanks for predicting!

Your prediction has been recorded anonymously.

Want to track your predictions, earn points, and hone your forecasting skills? Create an account today!

Track your predictions
Continue exploring the site

Community Stats

Metaculus help: Community Stats

Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.

When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.

Embed this question

You can use the below code snippet to embed this question on your own webpage. Feel free to change the height and width to suit your needs.