Discovered a planet around the star Banard

An international group of astronomers, led by Spanish scientists and with the participation of the Center for Astrobiology (CSIC-INTA), has found a planet in orbit around the star of Barnard, the second closest to the Sun after Alpha Centauri.

Barnard is only six light-years away from us and has a more apparent movement faster than any other star in the sky. This red dwarf, smaller and older than our Sun, is one of the least active red dwarfs known and represents an ideal target to search for exoplanets using various methods.

This new discovery, whose results are published in the Nature Magazine, is the fruit of 18 years of observations combined with new data obtained with the planetary hunter. CARMENES, a spectrograph located in Calar Alto (Spain), and other instruments.

The planet candidate, called Star of Barnard b (Barnard's Star bo bien 'GJ 699 b' if its catalog name is used) is a supertierra with a minimum mass of about 3.2 times the terrestrial one. It completes an orbit around its star every 233 days and is located in an area called the 'ice line', the distance from the star from which the water would be frozen, even in the vacuum of space. If the planet lacked atmosphere, its temperature could reach -150º C, which would make it very unlikely that it could have liquid water on its surface. However, its characteristics make it an excellent target to be visualized using the next generation of instruments such as NASA's WFIRST telescope, and could be detectable with observations that are already being obtained thanks to the Gaia mission of the European Space Agency ( ESA).

José Antonio Caballero, CAB researcher and co-author of the study, highlights the great significance of the discovery for astrobiology: "the star system closest to the Sun, Alpha Centauri, has a terrestrial planet, the second closest, Barnard's star, has a super-Earth ... If we keep searching, maybe Let's confirm the estimates of the Kepler space mission that, roughly, there is a planet like the Earth for every star in our Galaxy: that would be a hundred billion potentially habitable planets! ", says Caballero.

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Figure: artistic impression of the surface of the planet Barnard b. © ESO - M.M. Kornmesser (under CC BY 4.0 license)


Fuente: UCC-CAB


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