b'27The Proxima b planet was likelyblasted by . . .its star .habitability involves more than just being the right distance from the star for liquid water to exist. M stars are the most common type of star in the galaxy, and they have a higher incidence of small planets over Sun-like stars. If others behave like Proxima, the outlook for galactic life would be poor, at least around M stars.This artists impression of a flare from the star Proxima Centauri Other researchers looked at these same ALMA data foris modeled after the loops of glowing hot gas seen in the largest its average brightness and included the light of bothsolar flares. The exoplanet Proxima b is in the foreground. Proxima b orbits its star 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun. A the star and the flare. The extra flare light causedflare 10 times larger than a major solar flare would blast Proxima them to infer multiple disks of dust encircling Proximab with 4,000 times more radiation than the Earth gets from solar Centauri, similar to our asteroid and Kuiper belts. Dustflares. Image courtesy Roberto Molar Candanosa/Carnegie Institution for Science, NASA/Solar Dynamicsbelts suggest more planetary bodies in the system. Observatory, NASA/Jet Propulsion LaboratoryWhen the Carnegie-led team looked at that data as a function of observing time, instead of averaging it,1000x brighter at flare peakthey saw what the transient explosion of radiation really was: a stellar flare. The detection of the flare reduces the evidence that there is a substantial amount of dust around Proxima Centauri or that the star has a rich planetary system. BrightnessThis graph shows the brightness of the star Proxima Centauri as observed by ALMA over two minutes of the event in March 2017. The massive flare is shown in red, with the smaller earlier flare in orange, and the enhanced emission surrounding the flare that could mimic a disk in blue. At its peak, the flare increased the starsNormal stellar emissionbrightness by 1,000 times. The shaded area represents uncertainty. Image courtesy Meredith MacGregor 0 30 60 90 120Time (in seconds)'