Frigid planet detected orbiting nearby star
Updated : November 15, 2018 06:25 AM IST
The planet, estimated to be at least 3.2 times more massive than Earth, was spotted circling Barnard's Star, a type of relatively cool and low-mass star called a red dwarf, about 6 light-years away from our solar system, comparatively close in cosmic terms. It is believed to orbit Barnard's Star every 233 days.
Planets orbiting stars beyond our solar system are called exoplanets. Nearly 4,000 have been discovered. The newly discovered one is the second closest to our solar system ever found.
Two years ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a roughly Earth-sized planet circling Proxima Centauri, part of the Alpha Centauri system, in an orbit that might enable liquid water to exist on its surface, raising the possibility that it could harbour alien life.
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