Scientists discover a super-Earth orbiting around red dwarf star

Posted on:22 Nov 2016 18:05:56

Scientists discover a super-Earth orbiting around red dwarf star
22 November 2016 Current Affairs GK: A team of scientists has recently discovered a super-Earth orbiting around a red dwarf star just 32.7 light years away. The discovery was published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics on 5 November 2016.

The study was led by Alejandro Suarez Mascareno from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) in Spain.This exoplanet is named as GJ 536 b.

It is around 5.4 times the mass of Earth. Planets that are up to 15 times the mass of Earth are classed as super-Earths.

While the exoplanet is not located with the habitable zone of its star GJ 536 but it has a short orbit period of just 8.7 days. 

This rocky exoplanet is orbiting a star that is much smaller and cooler than the sun but is sufficiently nearby and bright. It can be observed from both the northern and southern hemispheres. 

The planet was detected in a joint effort between the IAC and the Geneva Observatory.

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

The research was carried out using the HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Seeker) spectrograph on the 3.6M ESO Telescope at La Silla in Chile.

HARPS North was also used on the Telescopio Nacional Galileo (TNG) at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, Garafia in Spain.

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