What you need to know about the new ‘Super Earth’
Nov 15, 2018
“Super Earth” has been found.
What’s going on: Scientists have discovered a new planet — called Super Earth — that is much bigger and colder than our world but has some of the same characteristics as our planet, according to a new study published Wednesday.
- The planet is more than three times the mass of Earth.
- “Super-Earth” is about 238 to 274 degrees below zero.
- The planet is orbiting a nearby star.
- The planet likely has an icy desert with no liquid water.
- The planet receives 2 percent of the intensity that Earth gets from the sun since the nearby star is cooler and smaller than our sun.
Context: Super-Earths are planets that have “masses larger than the Earth but not as big as the ice giants in our solar system, such as Neptune and Uranus,” according to USA Today.
That nearby star — called Barnard’s Star — is actually 30 trillion miles from Earth. It’s the closest single star to our own solar system.
How: The astronomers discovered the planet after using more than 20 years of data, which included 771 measurements. They thought they’d find a star there for a long time.
“The biggest ‘kick’ about this discovery is the host star,” Paul Butler, study co-author and astronomer at the Carnegie Institution for Science, told CNN. “Barnard’s star is the ‘great white whale’ of planet hunting.”
Flashback: The exoplanet is the second closest known exoplanet to Earth, CNN reports. The other planet is in the Proxima Centauri System.