Monday, 21 November 2016 14:07

New 'Super Earth' Discovered Orbiting A Star Nearby, Smaller And Cooler Than The Sun


Researchers have discovered a new “super earth” type of planet, whose mass is around 5.4 times that of Earth and is orbiting a star nearby in terms of space distance.

“Superearth” was discovered by PhD student Alejandro Suárez Mascareño, of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL), and his thesis directors at the IAC Rafael Rebolo and Jonay Isaí González Hernández.

The exoplanet, GJ 536 b, is an attractive candidate for assessment even though it’s not within the star’s habitable zone. But scientists want to investigate the planet because of it’s short orbital period of 8.7 days and the luminosity of stars.

They said, “The star, GJ 536, is a red dwarf which is quite cool and near to our Sun. Scientists also observed a cycle of magnetic activity similar to the Sun but with a shorter period of three years.

"So far, the only planet we have found is GJ 536 b, but we are continuing to monitor the star to see if we can find other companions," said Alejandro.

Mascareno added, “Rocky planets are usually found in groups, especially around stars of this type, and we are pretty sure that we can find other low-mass planets in orbits further from the star, with periods from 100 days up to a few years.

"We are preparing  a  programmeof monitoring for transits of this new exoplanet to determine its radius and mean density.”

Researcher Jonay Isai Gonzalez commented on the discovery saying, “This rocky exoplanet is orbiting a star much smaller and cooler than the Sun. But it is sufficiently nearby and bright.”

“It is also observable from both the northern and southern hemispheres, which is very interesting for future high-stability spectrographs, and in particular, for the possible detection of another rocky planet in the habitability zone of the star,” said Gonzalez.

To detect the planet, the researchers had to measure the velocity of the star with an accuracy of the order of a metre per second.

Author:  Shreya Kalra

Source:  http://www.indiatimes.com/


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