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New ‘super-Earth’ planet discovered by Catalan researchers

Findings regards the cosmic body around the nearby Barnard’s star was posited in the prestigious Nature journal

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15 November 2018 12:38 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

There is evidence of a so-called “cold super-Earth” orbiting not too far from our world, say researchers. This cosmic body, three times more massive than our home planet, would be around Barnard’s red dwarf star, less than six light years away from us.  

The international team of astronomers headed by Catalans published the findings in the prestigious Nature journal, stating that with 18 years’ worth of data they had found “significant evidence” of this super-Earth, orbiting Barnard’s star, the fourth nearest-known individual one to the Sun.

Data suggests that the planet revolves around the star every 233 days, and its distance from the red dwarf puts it in the so-called ‘frost line,’ meaning the region around a star where compounds – including water – can condense into solid ice grains. While this area is about four times further away from that which is habitable, this information could inform expert’s theories about how and where planets form around a star.

The diverse research team is led by Ignasi Ribas, researcher from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia (IEEC) and Institute of Space Science (ICE), as well as by Guillem Anglada-Escudé, researcher from the Queen Mary University of London. 

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  • A rendition of what the cold 'super-earth' orbiting Barnard's star might look like (November 14 2018, courtesy of ESO - M. Kornmesser)

  • A rendition of what the cold 'super-earth' orbiting Barnard's star might look like (November 14 2018, courtesy of ESO - M. Kornmesser)