Published: Thu, November 15, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Barnard's Star in the Solar neighborhood

Barnard's Star in the Solar neighborhood

At over three times the mass of the Earth it could easily handle our planets overgrowing population but humans could never handle the 238 degree below zero cold. This means a year on the newly discovered planet is shorter it is on Earth.

Still! There's a whole lot of reasons this is such cool news. This makes Barnard's Star b a prime candidate for us to use powerful spectroscopic techniques to, one day, peer into its atmosphere (if it has one) and understand what it's really made of.

Barnard's star b, as the new planet is called, was excruciatingly hard to pin down, and the team is referring to it as a "candidate planet" though it is confident it's there.

The subtle wobble of the star has caught the attention of astronomers for some time.

The newly discovered planet orbiting dim Barnard's star (imagined here) is much larger and colder than Earth.

How far? It's in the next star system past Alpha Centauri 30 trillion miles from Earth.

Even the most powerful telescopes in use today would not be able to image Barnard's Star b directly.

There Will Be An European Army ‘One Day’
France's head of state, Emmanuel Macron had spoken last week of his desire for a "real European army" for the independence of the United States.

New Zealand to host 2021 women's Rugby World Cup
The Rugby League World Cup will, for the first time, stage men's, women's and wheelchair tournaments at the same time when England hosts the 2021 edition - making it "the most inclusive" edition ever.

Steelers players plunder Le'Veon Bell's old locker for gear
Bell and Roethlisberger shared a backfield for five seasons, with Bell averaging 128.9 yards from scrimmage per game since 2013. Bell no-showed for the league-imposed deadline on Tuesday. which ended his 2018 season before it even started.

The discoverers acknowledge, however, that they're not completely sure yet. That's a bad combination; big 'scopes tend to be heavily utilized by astronomers.

The new discovery of a single, much smaller planet orbiting Barnard's Star is based on a different observational technique called radial velocity. Where his observations showed a wobbling star, theirs showed no such wobble - just a linear motion through space. But, as it moves around, it's sometimes approaching us and sometimes moving away. When an object moves away from us, the light we observe becomes slightly less energetic and redder. The clues came from astrometric signals, which look for deviation in the path of a star from a center line due to the influence of an unseen planet. Think on that for a moment: That's a slow walk!

A potentially rocky super-Earth orbits one of our closest stellar neighbors, Barnard's star, only 6 light-years away. "Barnard's star is the "great white whale" of planet hunting".

Finding a planet near Barnard's Star shows the value of combining a bunch of datasets on planet searching, something that is already ongoing with the Red Dots campaign, whose goal is to find terrestrial planets at stars nearby our own sun.

Two years ago this data was correlated with readings from the European Southern Observatory's UVES and HARPS spectrometers, the Automated Planet Finder (APF) telescope at the University of California's Lick Observatory, the Carnegie Institution for Science's Planet Finder Spectrograph (PFS) on the Magellan II Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, and CARMENES, a new planet-hunter spectrograph at Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. Any carbon dioxide there would be frozen solid, and even methane would be a liquid there. It turns out there are some very close to Earth, though. That would've been nice, but you can't have everything. Almost 4,000 have been discovered. But again, that's not the point. Until 1992, when the first exoplanets were found, and then in 1995 when the first one was found around a star like the Sun, we didn't know if other stars had planets at all.

He added: "Many of them are frozen on the surface". While no such planet exists in our backyard, the Kepler spacecraft revealed that such planets are common in the cosmos. So one way or another, Barnard's star will likely make numerous appearances in the headlines over the next few years.

The implication is once again clear: The galaxy - the Universe - is filled with planets.

Like this: