Sci-tech

A new "Super Earth" planet has been discovered

A new

An global team led by researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science announced today that they've detected an exoplanet orbiting Barnard's star, the closest single star to Earth at just six light-years away. According to the researchers, this new planet is larger than the Earth but it is smaller than Neptune.

An worldwide team including five Carnegie astronomers has discovered a frozen Super-Earth orbiting Barnard's star, the closest single star to our own Sun. Their search was also responsible for unveiling Proxima b, which orbits the nearest star beyond the sun, red dwarf Proxima Centauri.

Barnard's Star is six light years from Earth - hardly any distance on astronomical scales. These latest findings were published Wednesday (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature. This is the area in the solar system sometimes referred to as the Goldilocks Zone-as it is not too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist.

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Hundreds of thousands across the region remain under evacuation orders, and could stay that way for days as winds pick up again. California fire officials said crews gave up fighting the flames Thursday and instead helped people get out alive.

The planet's mass is thought to be more than three times that of our own, placing it in a category of world know as "super-Earths". "If it has any water or gas this is probably in solid form so that´s why we call it frozen", said Ribas. This imparts a Doppler shift on its light, shifting it to longer wavelengths (redshifting) when it moves away and toward shorter wavelengths (blueshifting) when it moves toward us. Known as Barnard's star b, this newly discovered world is roughly 3.2 times as massive as Earth, but any similarities stop there. While Mercury is in a hot location in our Solar System, Barnard's star is much dimmer, so the conditions at that distance are much cooler there.

Vogt said, 'It is the most common type of star in the galaxy - over 70 percent of Milky Way stars are like this dim, M dwarf star.

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

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She even allegedly manhandled a flight attendant and verbally abused others after they refused to give her a glass of wine. On Saturday, business class passenger Simone O'Broin became irate on her flight when the crew stopped serving her alcohol.

"After a very careful analysis, we are 99pc confident that the planet is there", stated the team's lead scientist, Ignasi Ribas of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia and the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain. After analyzing the archives of the last 20 years of observations of Barnard's star, produced by members of the Pale Red Dot, and also by studying it with the HARPS and other instruments in the last two years, scientists have found a "99% the hint of the existence of planets in this star". Barnard's star is the second closest star system, and the nearest single star to us. The research pushed the limits of the radial velocity detection technique, which becomes more hard the farther a planet is from its star.

Their measurements suggested that Barnard's Star is approaching and moving away from us at about walking speed - and it is best explained by a planet, Barnard's star b, orbiting it.

To come to this conclusion he used a technique called astrometry that measures the movement of a single star across the celestial sphere. "However we must remain cautious and collect more data to nail the case in the future".

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Professor Hugh Jones, from the University of Hertfordshire and a co-author on the paper, said: "The announcement of the planet has been a long time in the making; initial observations of the planet were made by Dr Paul Butler at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in June 1997. But in the United States, they are also developing WFirst - a small telescope that's also used for cosmology", said Dr Anglada Escudé.


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