Major scientific breakthrough as astronomers discover ‘super-Earth’ orbiting Sun’s nearest star


In a major scientific breakthrough, a ‘super-Earth’ has been discoered orbiting the closest single star to the Sun. Astronomers studied Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf just six light years away — practically in our back garden, galactically speaking — and noticed the presence of a “frozen, dimly lit world” at least 3.2 times heavier than Earth.

The planet, known as Barnard’s Star b, is the second nearest to Earth outside the solar system and orbits its host star once every 233 days.Despite being relatively close to its parent star, the planet receives less than two percent of the energy Earth gets from the Sun, and the team estimates it has a surface temperature of -170 degrees Celsius (-274 Farenheit) — far too cold to support life.

The planet lies well beyond the star’s habitable zone in which liquid water, and possibly life, could exist.It’s a barren, frigid world because light from Barnard’s Star provides it with only 2 percent of the energy the Earth receives from the sun.

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