There's A Super-Earth Orbiting Barnard's Star Just 6 Light Years Away

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Martin Kurster an astronomer at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy who worked on the new study, said it is possible that the detection of the new planet could one day be disproved.

Professor Steven Vogt of UC Santa Cruz said, 'Barnard's star is among the nearby red dwarfs that represents an ideal target to search for exoplanets that could someday actually be reached by future interstellar spacecraft.

Residents of the northern hemisphere, look up: In the faint shimmy of a star above you, astronomers have discovered evidence of an alien world. As a result, Barnard's Star b lies beyond what is known as the ice line, so far from the star that water would freeze harder than rock.

However, as astrometry measurement techniques became more precise, scientists found that the supposed signals of Van de Kamp's two planets did not exist after all.

Despite the shorter distance to the star, this planet receives about 50 times less light and heat than the Earth due to the small size and dim stars Barnard. This method takes advantage of that fact that not only does a star's gravity obviously influence the planet orbiting it, but the planet's gravity also affects the star in turn.

There's a chance that the oscillations are caused by something that affects the way the star shines in a periodic way, such as star spots. But as Barnard's star is said to be very calm and behave based on observations, Ribas and his team are confident that what they saw is a real planet. Madhusudhan isn't quite so certain: "If confirmed, this will be very good".

A team of researchers at the exoplanet-hunting institution Red Dots published a study today in Nature that compiles more than 20 years of observations of the star.

Supersell are planets whose mass exceeds the mass of the Earth, but much smaller than the mass of gas giants such as Uranus. The Kepler mission has shown that such intermediate planets are common across the galaxy, but with no examples among our eight home planets, astronomers have few ideas what they are like.

The W.M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea is among the telescopes around the world that found the super-earth, described by astronomers as a "frozen, dim planet". What makes the star's motion noteworthy is how fast it appears to move across the night sky as seen from the Earth, known as its apparent motion.

"This planet is particularly complicated because the orbital period (the time to complete one full orbit of the host star) is 233 days". The planet, Proxima Centauri b, is just 4.2 light years from Earth.

It is 3.2 times greater than the Earth mass and orbits a red dwarf five times less than the Sun. "This remarkable planet therefore gives us a key piece in the puzzle of planetary formation and evolution, and might be among the first low-mass exoplanets whose atmospheres are probed in detail". "This would be a dream".

"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.

Artistic impression of a sunset from Barnard's star b.

Having made this discovery, Anglada-Escude wondered if there are similar planets and others closest to us stars, most of which are red dwarfs - stars Barnard, remote from Earth only six light-years, and Ross 154, located at nearly ten light years from the Solar system.