Observations of our closest neighboring star dampen hopes of a potentially habitable planet

Artist's impression of flare from our neighboring star Proxima Centauri ejecting material onto a nearby planet.

(CNN)One of the planets that orbits around Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, had been thought to exist within what astronomers call the habitable zone.

While Proxima b is 20 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun, it receives a similar amount of energy -- heat and light -- that Earth does from the sun because Proxima Centauri is a cooler and smaller star.
This puts the planet in the so-called "Goldilocks zone" of not too hot and not too cold for some form of life to exist. That means it's thought to have a possible surface temperature range where liquid water could exist on the planet's surface. Scientists equate liquid water with life on Earth, and it has informed their search for life beyond it as well.
    However, new research has dampened hopes that any suggestion of life could exist on its surface, with the planet likely experiencing inhospitable space weather.
    Astronomers are changing the way we think of 'potentially habitable' planets