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Proxima Centauri is the closest star to the Earth (besides our Sun). If it went supernova, would such an event negatively affect the Earth? Can Proxima Centauri negatively affect the Earth in some other fashion?

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    $\begingroup$ Proxima Centauri is an M5 dwarf. It will never go supernova. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 at 0:29
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    $\begingroup$ @fasterthanlight answered the first part (and thank you for getting this gist of my question) but not the second. $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Jun 2 at 0:36
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    $\begingroup$ The simple answer to that is no. To affect the Earth significantly, it needs to pass very close (less than 100-1000 AU), which is virtually impossible. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 at 0:46
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    $\begingroup$ @fasterthanlight Ok, great. Now I need one of you to combine your comments as an answer and then I can accept it. $\endgroup$
    – tale852150
    Jun 2 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ See earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/supernove-distance for the effects of nearby supernovae $\endgroup$ Jun 2 at 2:16
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First thing, Proxima Centauri cannot go supernova. It is only $0.12 M_\odot$, while core-collapse supernovae can only be triggered by stars that are more massive than $8 M_\odot$. Now the only exception here is if it undergoes a type Ia supernova, but this is very unrealistic because Proxima won't become a white dwarf in trillions of years and is not part of a binary system that is close enough to engage in mass transfer.

To answer your second question, the answer is also no. To affect the Earth significantly, it needs to pass very close (less than 100-1000 AU), which is virtually impossible. Proxima will not approach closer than 3 light years from our Sun in the near future, so it absolutely has no effect on the Solar System. See my answer regarding stellar collisions.

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  • $\begingroup$ As an ordinary star Proxima Centauri would have to get very close forits gravity to mess up the solar system. But if it could somehow turn into a supernova, a supernova at the distance of Proima Centauri would be very bad for life on Earth. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 at 14:53

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