Frozen super-Earth discovered six light-years away

Frozen super-Earth discovered six light-years away

Frozen super-Earth discovered six light-years away

Barnard's Star is the second closest red dwarf star to our solar system (after Proxima Centauri), at 30 trillion miles from Earth.

Artist's impression of Barnard's Star planet under the orange tinted light from the star.

The discovery comes out of the Red Dots and Carmenes projects focused on looking for nearby rocky planets, particularly around red dwarf stars.

The planet orbits Barnard's star, which is just six light-years away and the closest single star to us.

During the course of their study, Smithsonian notes, researchers found faint evidence of another planet, which would be Barnard's Star c.

A newly discovered planet - the second closest known exoplanet to Earth - has been found orbiting our sun's stellar neighbor, Barnard's star.

The newly detected planet orbiting Barnard's Star may not be so hospitable, with surface temperatures of perhaps minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius).

Central American Migrants ARRIVE at US-Mexico Border in Tijuana — CARAVAN ARRIVES
Saying many of them were from the LGBT community, one of the migrants said their travel was paid for by an anonymous organisation. A small group of LGBTQ migrants broke off from the main caravan and arrived in Tijuana at the border ahead of the other groups.

Dr Mikko Tuomi, who originally discovered the planet, said: "The ability to directly image a planet greatly increases our ability to understand its characteristics and increase the potential for possible exploration in future, helping astronomers discover more about the planets that lie beyond our solar system". Using sophisticated instruments, including Carnegie's Planet Finding Spectrograph, astronomers can detect the tiny wobbles that the planet's gravity induces in the star's orbit. One of those stars, Proxima Centauri, is orbited by a small planet, but the star's tendency to spew flares of deadly radiation means its planet is unlikely to be habitable. His data invoked the presence of two planets tugging the star around as it moved through space.

In a Nature commentary, University of Buenos Aires astronomer Rodrigo Diaz said the next generation of telescopes should be able to capture direct images of the planet and measure its light spectrum. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our solar system. For another 300 observations, Ribas and his team felt satisfied that they saw that 233-day periodic jiggles in Barnard's star's movements. The exoplanet orbits its star in about 233 days, far less than Earth's 365 day orbit, but longer than numerous other known exoplanets discovered to date.

"Though the super-Earth we detected is much too cold to be likely habitable, it does underscore exoplanet statistics that confirm there are more planets in the universe than there are stars, and more potentially habitable Earth-sized planets than grains of sand on all the beaches on our planet!" said Vogt.

This device, as explained by the scientists, captures the slightest "jitter" in the position of the stars in the sky, resulting from their gravitational interactions with the planets.

"Tantalisingly, super-Earths like Barnard's Star b probably sustain geothermal activity for longer than their lower mass counterparts". So they obtained time on some telescopes to do an extensive monitoring campaign in 2016 and 2017, including simultaneous observations with more than one instrument.

"The James Webb Space Telescope might not help in this case, because it was not designed for what's called high contrast imaging".

The star is named after the American astronomer E E Barnard, who measured properties of its motion in 1916. We don't want another van de Kemp scenario.

Related news