The exoplanets that are discovered in our neighborhood are constantly increasing. An international 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.
This is the second closest exoplanet that has been found so far. In 2016, an exoplanet (Proxima b) had been discovered around the Earth’s closest star, the Centaur Approach, about four light years from Earth. Following the discovery of the new exoplanet, four planetary systems have been found at a distance of up to ten light years from our solar system and 14 planetary systems up to 15 light-years away.
Barnard’s Star-named American astronomer Edward Barnard, who discovered the star in 1916, is the fourth closest to the Earth star after the triple astral system of the Alpha of the Centaur, and appears to move faster than any other star in the sky.
It is a red dwarf star, who appears in the constellation of the Ophiuchus. He is smoother, shorter and older than the Sun, aged seven to ten billion years old, so he is much older than our solar system.
Barnard’s b (or GJ 699 b) exoplanet has a mass of at least 3.2 times the Earth, it takes 233 days (the year’s duration) to erase a complete trajectory around its star and only receives 2% of the radiation Earth accepts from the sun. It is estimated that for this reason the average temperature on its surface is minus 150 to 170 degrees Celsius, so if the planet has water it will be in the form of ice rather than wet. So the planet will be a rather frozen desert inhospitable for life.
“We are over 99% sure that this planet is there,” said lead researcher Ignasi Ribas of Spain’s Space Research Institute. Researchers made the relevant publication in Nature magazine.
The planet will be a future goal of next-generation telescopes under construction, such as NASA’s Wide Field Infra Red Survey Telescope (WFIRST).