Discovery of a "super-Earth" near the solar system

Rendering of exoplanet Barnard's Star

Rendering of exoplanet Barnard's Star

Researchers of the "exoplanet-hunting" group Red Dots have detected a planet-some 3.2 times the Earth's mass and very cold-orbiting the star, Smithsonian reports.

A Super-Earth has been recently discovered, and it's placed somewhere around six years away from our Sun. The scientists used several instruments to their research, including the HARPS and UVES spectrographs of the European Southern Observatory (ESO).

The planet is located as far away from its host star as Mercury does from out sun, as discovered by the researchers. Data subtle changes - using of existing scientific instruments can be registered with great accuracy.

"However, we'll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet", added Ribas, the lead author of a new study announcing the detection of Barnard's Star b.

Barnard's Star b is the second nearest to the Sun exoplanet. That designation is held by the roughly Earth-size world Proxima b, which orbits Proxima Centauri, one of the Alpha Centauri trio.

Barnard's Star B is the closest known exoplanet to us after Proxima b, whose announcement of the discovery made a big splash in August 2016. The "super-Earth" is only dimly lit by its star, a red dwarf probably twice as old as the Sun. Year on it lasts 233 earth days and its surface temperature is close to -170 degrees Celsius, due to the fact that the planet lies near the snow line, at which volatile substances are frozen.

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That nearby star - called Barnard's Star - is actually 30 trillion miles from Earth.

"Or it may be what we call a mini-Neptune, like a scaled-down version of the gas giants of our solar system".

"Even more excitingly, the next generation of ground-based instrumentation, also coming into operation in the 2020s, should be able to directly image the reported planet, and measure its light spectrum", Diaz wrote. The team also re-examined the data collected by different telescopes over the past 20 years.

It's really near and therefore if you have the hope - like I do - of eventually seeing these planets to study them in detail we have to start with the immediate ones. "We always have to remain a bit cautious ... but we were sure enough that we were willing to go forward with publication".

"We all have worked very hard on this result", said co-leader Guillem Anglada-Escude at Queen Mary University of London.

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