'Super-Earth' found orbiting Sun's nearest single star

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Astronomers have discovered a frozen planet with a mass over three times that of the Earth, orbiting the closest solitary star to the Sun.


  • The potentially rocky planet, known as Barnard’s star b, is a ‘super-Earth’ and orbits around its host star once every 233 days.
  • The planet lies at a distant region from the star known as the ‘snow line’ This is well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist.
  • The planet’s surface temperature is estimated to be around -170°C, if the planet has a substantial atmosphere the temperature could be higher and conditions potentially more hospitable.
  • Barnard’s star is an infamous object among astronomers and exoplanet scientists, as it was one of the first stars where planets were initially claimed but later proven to be incorrect.
  • At nearly six light-years away Barnard’s star is the next closest star to the Sun after the Alpha Centauri triple system. It is a type of faint, low-mass star called a red dwarf. Red dwarfs are considered to be the best places to look for exoplanet candidates, which are planets outside our solar system.
  • Barnard’s star b is the second closest known exoplanet to our Sun. The closest lies just over four light-years from Earth. That exoplanet, Proxima b, orbits around the red dwarf Proxima Centauri.
  • Barnard’s star b detects wobbles in a star which are likely to be caused by the gravitational pull of an orbiting planet. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star.

'Super-Earth' found orbiting Sun's nearest single star 'Super-Earth' found orbiting Sun's nearest single star Reviewed by The Hindu Current Affairs on November 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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