Astronomers have announced the discovery of a frozen Super-Earth orbiting Barnard’s star, a single star closest to the Sun. According to the study, which included a handful of researchers with the Carnegie Institution for Science, the Super-Earth has a mass that is at least 3.2 times greater than our own planet; the orbit around its star lasts only 233 days and its surface temperature is estimated to be a frigid -150 degrees Celsius.
The planet has been named GJ 699 b and it was found using the radial velocity technique, according to Carnegie, which says this is the first planet with this size and distance from its star to be found with the technology. The study found that at its distance from its star, any water on the planet would be frozen.
Two decades’ worth of data went into the discovery, all of it having been gathered by seven instruments. The information was figuratively stitched together into a dataset that is counted among the most extensive used for detecting planets. The planet’s presence is said to be 99-percent certain.
Carnegie’s Paul Butler, who is said to be one of the pioneers behind the aforementioned radial velocity method, said:
This technique has been used to find hundreds of planets. We now have decades of archival data at our disposal. The precision of new measurements continues to improve, opening the doors to new parameters of space, such as Super-Earth planets in cool orbits like Barnard’s star b.