Christened as Barnard’s Star B, a new planet was recently discovered orbiting outside the solar system. This new planet is the closest to the Earth and orbits its host star once every 233 days. This latest space exploration facts and news brought about new possibilities. Let us find out more.
Space Exploration Facts and News
According to scientists, this breakthrough could shine a light on Earth’s nearest planetary neighbors. This newly discovered planet resembles a red dwarf and is placed just six light years away. Astronomers noticed the presence of a frozen and dimly lit world which seemed to be 3.2 times heavier than Earth.
According to scientist Ignasi Ribas from the Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia, the planet is our next door neighbor and we should meet them. This planet, despite being close to its parent star, receives less than 2% of energy that Earth gets from the sun and astronomers have estimated a surface temperature of 170 degrees Celsius on it.
“It’s definitely not in the habitable zone, no liquid water. If it has any water or gas this is probably in solid form so that’s why we call it frozen,” said Ribas.
Further discussion on the Red Dwarf planet says that it is a small and cooling star which is probably twice as old as the Sun and produces very little light which makes it very hard to find any bodies in its orbit. The discovery of this planet took more than 20 years of study and observation from Ribas and his team. The phenomenon of Doppler Effect was used to track the impact of its gravitational pull on its parent star.
“We have all worked very hard on this breakthrough,” said Guillem Anglada Escude, from London’s Queen Mary University, who co-authored the study published in the journal Nature.
Barnard’s Star is moving at a pace of 500,000 km/h making it the fastest moving known object in the universe. According to Ribas, due to the fast speed of the new planet, any further discoveries would be more of a ‘guesswork’. He also called it a mini-Neptune, like a scaled-down version of the gas giants in our own solar system. The new planet could be cold and inhospitable too, but it is really close.
The only known exoplanet closer to Earth was discovered in 2016 orbiting one of a cluster of stars in the Alpha Centauri system, just over four light years away.
Ribas said that there are very few stars in our immediate neighborhood. He hopes that this discovery would lead to further discoveries.
While a lot of space exploration facts is known and taught to us in our schools, it is the latest news that tells us what new discoveries have been made. The entire subject of space exploration is so huge that it will take hundreds of years to know everything about the outside space in detail. Scientists may also never come to know about the space and its facts.