‘Super Earth’ orbits fastest-moving star
Consider the subject of a recent study in the British journal Nature which delved into the aspects of what it calls “Super Earth” — a planet, it says, is much bigger and a lot colder than our world.
The study, which was published earlier this month, said the planet was discovered in orbit around a nearby star.
According to the study, the Super Earth is more than three times the mass of the Earth and about 238 degrees below zero.
Super Earths are planets that have masses that are larger than the Earth but are not as big as the ice giants in our solar system such as Uranus and Neptune.
The first super-Earths were discovered by Alexsander Wolszczan and Dale Frail in 1992. The two outer planets of that system have masses approximately four times that of Earth.
The first super-Earth around a main-sequence star was discovered by a team under Eugenio Rivera in 2005. It has an estimated mass of 7.5 Earth masses and an orbital period of about two days.
Ignasi Ribas of Spain’s Institute of Space Sciences, who was the study’s lead scientist, said, “After a very careful analysis, we are 99 percent confident that the planet (dubbed Barnard’s Star B), is there.”
The planet appeared to a be a frozen, dimly lit world as it was observed through data that was retrieved from a worldwide array of telescopes.
“We used observations from seven different instruments, spanning 20 years of measurements, making this one of the largest and most extensive data sets ever used,” Ribas said.
The study said the newly discovered planet is the second-closest known exoplanet (planets outside our solar system) to the Earth and orbits the fastest-moving star in the night sky.
It’s a great big world out there and who knows what else there is that’s just waiting to be discovered?