This exoplanet was flown in orbit around the star Proxima Centauri, distant 4.2 light years.
This was reported in the journal Nature. The newly detected planet orbiting Barnard's Star may not be so hospitable, with surface temperatures of perhaps minus 274 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius).
In mankind's bid to map the planets in the night sky, most historic research has focused on brighter, newer stars, which produce more light and increase the chances of scientists noticing anything orbiting them.
Astronomers noticed the frozen, dimly lit world that is 3.2 times heavier than Earth, orbiting Barnard's Star, a red dwarf just six light years awayA "super-Earth" has been discovered orbiting the closest single star to our Sun, scientists said Wednesday in a breakthrough that could shine a light on Earth's nearest planetary neighbours.
"The additional data from CARMENES strongly confirmed the signal, and removed any lingering doubt as to the reality of this planet", Vogt said.
The researchers managed to find this new world by using "more than 20 years of data" and seven observation instruments to detect the variations of star speed, an indicator of the presence of an exoplanet. "The combination of all data led to a total of 771 measurements", Ribas said.
This is the second closest exoplanet that has been found so far.
"After a very careful analysis, we are over 99 per cent confident that the planet is there, since this is the model that best fits our observations", said Dr Ignasi Ribas, from Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya and the Institute of Space Sciences in Spain. The other planet is in the Proxima Centauri System. "We always have to remain a bit cautious ... but we were sure enough that we were willing to go forward with publication". It is actually a reference to the planet's mass relative to our planet and to ice giants like Uranus and Neptune.
Astronomers discovered Barnard's star B using the radial velocity method. This means that astronomers are getting better at finding these kinds of planets outside our solar system. An global team has announced that it has found good evidence of the existence of a frozen exoplanet that is at least three times larger than the Earth and which moves around nearby Barnard's star, about six light years away from our own planet.
"We all have worked very hard on this result", said co-leader Guillem Anglada-Escude at Queen Mary University of London.
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