Proxima Centauri, the star closest to our sun, may harbor a second planet—still.

“Still,” because astronomers first announced this candidate world in April 2019, based on observations and analyses that had yet to be published or peer-reviewed. Now more thoroughly vetted and bolstered by additional data, the study reporting the potential discovery appears today in the journal Science Advances. Yet certainty is elusive—the planet could still prove to be a mirage.

“Since the very first time we saw this [potential planetary] signal, we tried to be its worst enemies,” says Fabio Del Sordo, an astronomer at the University of Crete in Greece, who spearheaded the study, along with his colleague Mario Damasso of the Astrophysical Observatory of Turin in Italy. “We tried different tools to prove ourselves wrong, but we failed. However, we have to keep the doors open to all possible doubt and skepticism.”

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