Our solar neighbourhood is full of planets

A team from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias has participated in the discovery of a frozen super-Earth around a Brown dwarf, Barnard’s star, in the second nearest solar system to ourselves, 5.96 light years away. Only the triple star system Alpha Centauri is nearer. The study, published today in Nature magazine, shows the existence of a planet which should have around three times the mass of the Earth (3.2 earth masses) and which orbits the star in 233 days. Barnard’s star is relatively cool, and the super-Earth Barnard b (also GJ 699b) is in orbit close to the so-called “snow line” a distance which marks the limit beyond which water would freeze. If Barnard b did not have an atmosphere its probable temperature would be -170ºC. >> Read more


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