Super-Earth discovered orbiting Suns nearest star

Cesar Mills
November 16, 2018

This is the first time a planet as small and distant from its star as this one has been detected using what's called the radial velocity technique. The newly discovered planet is the second-closest known exoplanet to the Earth.

Barnard's Star is six light years from Earth - hardly any distance on astronomical scales.

Professor Carole Haswell, head of astronomy at the Open University and a member of the worldwide team that announced the discovery in the journal Nature, said: "While the starlight from Barnard's Star is too feeble for Barnard's Star b to have liquid water on its surface, Barnard's Star b probably has a similar temperature to Jupiter's moon Europa".

The planet orbits beyond a boundary called the "snow line", which is past the traditional habitable zone, where water can remain liquid on the surface. If the existence of Barnard's Star b is confirmed, it may indicate there are other, smaller worlds orbiting this ancient star. This freezing, shadowy world could have a temperature of -170 ℃, making it inhospitable for life as we know it.

Artistic impression of a sunset from Barnard's star b courtesy of Martin Kornmesser/ESO. They also observed with a spectrograph at Spain's Calar Alto Observatory and added in archival data spanning 20 years from those and four other instruments, giving them a total of almost 800 measurements.

Patterns in those spectral variations can point to the gravitational wobbles induced by a planet orbiting an alien star.

Just six light-years from Earth, the second closest star system to our sun hosts a frozen super-Earth, according to new findings by an global team of researchers.

Barnard's Star's biggest claim to fame is the rate at which it is tearing across the night sky.

"We think that this is what we call a Super-Earth - that would be possibly a mostly rocky planet with a massive atmosphere". As the star moves towards the Earth its spectrum appears slightly shifted towards the blue and, as it moves away, it is shifted towards the red.

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

VAR in the Premier League: English top-flight introduce technology for 2019-20
In the World Cup group stage, 335 incidents were checked by VAR officials which led to 14 referee calls being overruled. In April, Premier League clubs voted against it being used for the 2018-19 season.

Country Music Hall of Fame singer Roy Clark has died at 85
He was also known for his instrumental versions of 'Malaguena, ' on 12-string guitar, and 'Ghost Riders in the Sky'. The country music and comedy show's last episode aired in 1993, though reruns continued for a few years thereafter.

Lawyer hurls racial slurs at flight crew for denying her more wine
In a video that is going viral on social platforms, the woman can be heard shouting, "I am a f**king global lawyer". After the crew denied her more alcohol, she said that she is a human rights lawyer, an worldwide criminal lawyer.

Unlike many other red dwarfs, Barnard's Star is relatively inactive and not so likely to blast nearby planets with radiation that would not give life a chance.

Video: This video from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia/Science-Wave describes a newly detected candidate for a planet.

The radial velocity method was developed in the 1990s and has been steadily improving ever since, Ribas said.

"We have all worked very hard on this breakthrough", said Guillem Anglada Escude, from London´s Queen Mary University, who co-authored the study published in the journal Nature.

"In the end, we believe firmly enough the object is there", Ignasi Ribas of the Institut de Ciències de l'Espai and lead author of the paper says.

"When we re-analyzed all the combined measurements, a clear signal arose at a period of 233 days".

The star is named after the American astronomer E E Barnard, who measured properties of its motion in 1916.

However, a massive atmosphere could potentially warm the planet, making conditions more hospitable to life.

This wealth of data provided the extraordinary accuracy needed to identify the influence of the planet with near certainty.

In the 1930s, Dutch-American astronomer Peter van de Kamp began a quest to study Barnard's star that lasted for most of his 93 years. That is true in the Solar system (Jupiter), and also seems true for Barnard's Star - if the planet really exists.

Other reports by GizPress

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER