Scientists have discovered a ‘Super Earth’ just six light years away

Bone-crushingly cold Super Earth discovered orbiting nearby star

Bone-crushingly cold Super Earth discovered orbiting nearby star

Scientists at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) have discovered the second nearest planet to Earth, outside our solar system.

Barnard's star B is now the second-closest known exoplanet to our Sun, after Proxima B that circles around Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf.

This was reported in the journal Nature. First is Proxima Centauri b orbiting Proxima Centauri and which is about four light years.

"Or it may be what we call a mini-Neptune, like a scaled-down version of the gas giants of our solar system". "However, we'll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet". It is estimated that for this reason the average temperature on its surface is minus 150 to 170 degrees Celsius, so if the planet has water it will be in the form of ice rather than wet.

In a landmark discovery, an global team of astronomers led by Ignasi Ribas of the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) and Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC- CSIC) has found a candidate planet orbiting Barnard's star. However, adding one more planet to the "known" list, scientists have confirmed the presence of an extremely cold "Super Earth" around six light-years away.

That nearby star - called Barnard's Star - is actually 30 trillion miles from Earth. The "super-Earth" is only dimly lit by its star, a red dwarf probably twice as old as the Sun. These wobbles affect the light coming from the star.

It's really near and therefore if you have the hope - like I do - of eventually seeing these planets to study them in detail we have to start with the immediate ones. "After a very careful analysis, we are over 99 per cent confident that the planet is there, since this is the model that best fits our observations", said Ignasi Ribas from the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain. The team of researchers combined 20 years worth of data from seven separate instruments to make their conclusion and discover the planet. "However, we must remain cautious and collect more data to nail the case in the future", Ribas said. "This is the result of a large collaboration organized in the context of the Red Dots project, which is why it has contributions from teams all over the world including semi-professional astronomers coordinated by the American Association of Variable Star Observers".

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