A huge exoplanet is hiding near the solar system

A huge exoplanet is hiding near the solar system

The artistic vision of the planet near the star Barnard

Barnard's star (red dwarf), distant for 6 light years from the sun, is considered the nearest solitary star of the solar system and the fastest moving star in the night sky. In addition, it is slightly “swinging”.

The star appeared about 10 billion years ago, which makes it twice the sun. However, its mass reaches only 16% of the sun. Some astronomers are 99% certain, based on 20 years of research, that Barnard's star is swinging due to the presence of a number of exoplanets. This world is three times larger than the Earth and is covered with ice.

Even 20 years ago, astronomers began to suspect the presence of a super-Earth near a star (more than the Earth’s mass, but less than ice-giant). The conclusions were based on the speed of the Barnard star. Every 230 days, it approached the solar system and slowly retreated again. A possible explanation was the presence of a large planet capable of exerting its own gravitational effect on the Barnard star when rotating around it. But for evidence, it was necessary to obtain more data.

After 20 years of observations from telescopes around the world, researchers were able to gather the necessary information. In a new analysis, a team of scientists examined more than 700 measurements of the velocity of a Barnard star and determined that the most likely scenario for precarious behavior is the effect of an approximate planet with an orbital rotation of 233 days.

A huge exoplanet is hiding near the solar system

Barnard's Star is the second closest star system and one of the closest stars.

Researchers used observations from 7 different instruments for 20 years. That is, we have one of the largest and most extensive data sets regarding the study of radial velocities. In the presence of the world are 99% sure. The planet near the star Barnard is distant to the Sun-Mercury distance. That is, the object is located near the “snow line” - the line beyond which the planetary water will be frozen.

Unfortunately, there are too few chances for life, since proximity to a star deprives it of the atmosphere, and the temperature drops to -150 ° C. So, any water will be frozen.

A huge exoplanet is hiding near the solar system

Artistic vision of what a sunset on an exoplanet can look like near the star Barnard

This may prevent the planet star Barnard from becoming a candidate for alien life, but the nearest super-Earth is still of interest to scientists. This world allows you to hone the methods of detecting and monitoring exoplanets. Future missions will be able to directly display the neighboring planet.

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