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Astronomers Have Found A New ‘Super Earth’ In Our Cosmic Backyard

Exo-planet hunters have found a new Super Earth only 32.7 light years from Earth. The newest exo-planet find is located orbiting around GJ 536, which is a red dwarf star that lies 32.7 light years or 10.03 parsecs from Earth. Hoardes of researchers have begun to search for exo-planets in the past few years. Teams of astronomers are hoping to find a planet in our cosmic neighborhood that has the potential of hosting life similar to our own.

A NASA rendition of a similar star system.



What makes a planet a ‘Super Earth’ is the specific classification of its size. Super Earth’s are classified as a planet between one and fifteen times the mass of our own. The most recent find weighs up to five Earth masses.

The new planet has an irregular orbit of less than nine days as its only 0.06661 astronomical units away from its host star shows research from the ESO’s High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) and HARPS-N instruments.



What makes this find significant is the distance between the planet and its host star. Due to such a close proximity, the planet is a great candidate for transmission spectroscopy – a process that enables scientists to understand the chemical composition of atmosphere’s based on how light from the star strikes the planet’s atmospheric layers.

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