7 September 2017
Pale Red Dot was a web-based science outreach project that followed a programme of observations leading to the identification of a terrestrial planet around Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Solar System. It provided the public with a unique insight into how science is carried out, as the data were being collected and analysed. A second, similar outreach project, known as Red Dots, is currently following the astronomers as they make further observations of Proxima Centauri to look for more planets, and observations of two other close stellar neighbours, Barnard's Star and Ross 154.
The discovery of the planet around Proxima Centauri was published in the journal Nature and has received international media attention and extensive coverage. The project won the Guardian University Award for Research Impact 2016. Dr Guillem Anglada-Escudé, the project leader from QMUL, was featured in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, alongside fellow exoplanet hunters from NASA and University of Liège, Belgium.
Further details of the THE nomination can be found here.
Image credit: ESO/G. Anglada-Escudé