Just six light-years from Earth, the second-closest star system to our Sun hosts a frozen super-Earth, according to new findings by an international team of researchers.
Barnard’s star is a small, ancient kind of sun called a red dwarf. And while it’s not easily visible without a telescope, Barnard’s star has long attracted astronomers’ gaze as the fastest-moving star in the night sky.
Astronomers now say it’s also home to a frozen exoplanet at least three times as massive as Earth, making it a super-Earth. A collaborative team of researchers from the Red Dots and CARMENES projects, both efforts to find planets around nearby red dwarfs, used a variety of telescopes to discover this exoplanet, known as Barnard’s star b, and explore its features. The Red Dots team was also involved in the recent discovery of planets around Earth’s nearest star system, Proxima Centauri. These latest findings were published Wednesday (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature.