Scientists discover a super-Earth orbiting around red dwarf star

Nov 22, 2016 16:06 IST

A team of scientists has recently discovered a super-Earth orbiting around a red dwarf star just 32.7 light years away. The discovery was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on 5 November 2016.

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The study was led by Alejandro Suarez Mascareno from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) in Spain.

Key Findings

• This exoplanet is named as GJ 536 b.
• It is around 5.4 times the mass of Earth. Planets that are up to 15 times the mass of Earth are classed as super-Earths.
• While the exoplanet is not located with the habitable zone of its star GJ 536 but it has a short orbit period of just 8.7 days.
• This rocky exoplanet is orbiting a star that is much smaller and cooler than the sun but is sufficiently nearby and bright.
• It can be observed from both the northern and southern hemispheres.

The Study
• The planet was detected in a joint effort between the IAC and the Geneva Observatory.
• To detect the planet, the researchers measured the velocity of the star with an accuracy of the order of a metre per second.
• The research was carried out using the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Seeker) spectrograph on the 3.6M ESO Telescope at La Silla in Chile.
• HARPS North was also used on the Telescopio Nacional Galileo (TNG) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, Garafia in Spain.

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