Science

'Super-Earth' found orbiting nearby star, United States News & Top Stories

'Super-Earth' found orbiting nearby star, United States News & Top Stories”

Dubbed Barnard's star b, the exoplanet is situated close to its star system's snow line, which suggests that water exists in its frozen form.

The newly detected world, known as Barnard's Star b, remains a planet candidate for now.

To make the news affirmative the scientists did a very close analysis to confirm the presence of the planet and now they are 99% sure. "However, we will continue to observe fast-moving star, to avoid possible, but unlikely, natural variations in star brightness that could be mistaken for caused by the planet".

The team's results appear online in the November 14, 2018 issue of the journal Nature.

Graphic representation of the relative distances to the nearest stars from the sun.

NASA's Kepler space telescope showed that small planets are common in the Milky Way galaxy at large.

"There's not so many stars in our immediate neighbourhood". "And that is super-exciting".

Barnard's Star is about twice as old as Earth's sun, one-sixth as massive and just 3 percent as luminous. Gauging a world's true habitability requires a strong working knowledge of its atmospheric composition and thickness, among other characteristics.

Barnard's Star has long been a target of exoplanet hunters, but their searches have always come up empty - until now.

Ribas and colleagues reported that Barnard's star b might be alone in the area.

The planet was confirmed after combining 20 years worth of data from seven separate instruments. "The combination of all data led to a total of 771 measurements - a huge amount of information!" "The investment to find them is expensive", said Ribas.

Astronomers have spotted a rocky planet orbiting Barnard's star - the closest single star to the sun, and second closest stellar system to us after the triple-star Alpha Centauri.

The planet receives 2 percent of the intensity that Earth gets from the sun since the nearby star is cooler and smaller than our sun.

"There's not enough data", she told Space.com.

A planet, named Barnard's Star B, was found in the constellation Ophiucus, around Barnard's Star about 6 light-years from Earth (a light-year equals 5.9 trillion miles).

This orbital distance is similar to that of radiation-blasted Mercury in our own solar system. Planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system are called exoplanets. This means that it can not exist forms of life known on Earth. 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). But super-precise measurements of star positions, such as those now being made by the European Space Agency's Gaia spacecraft, may do the job in the next few years, he added.

However, detectable signals of a wobble from Earth-sized planets tugging on their host star are faint, and largely swamped by noise generated by the boiling surface activity of the stars themselves. Direct observations could help scientists better characterize the exoplanet's size, mass and composition, as well as reveal details about its atmosphere.



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