A 'super earth' discovered

Takes 2.4 days to complete a year

How it feel like to have a second earth? Many times we have wondered about this. But now, astronomers detected one and it seem to have found one 36 light-years away.


A student at the Instituto de Astrofiscia de Canaris -a research institute in the Canary Islands, has discovered a new super Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf. It only takes 2.4 days to complete one orbit around its star. That means where Earth takes 365.25 days to complete a year, this new super Earth does in less than a week in two days, nine hours and thirty minutes to be precise.


The newly found planet called a ‘super’ Earth because of its massive size. It is at least twice the size of earth and up to 10 times its mass. They’re also lighter than the solar system’s ice giants, Neptune and Uranus and don’t necessarily have to be made up of rocks. They can also be made up of gas or a combination of both.


This planet has the second shortest orbital period around this type of star. The mass and the period suggest a rocky planet, with a radius of around 1.4 Earth radii, which could be confirmed in future observations. The data also indicate the presence of a second planet with an orbital period of 9 years, and a mass comparable to that of Saturn but more data are needed to confirm that the signal is really due to a planet.


The Kepler mission, recognized at one of the most successful in detecting exo-planets using the transit method which is the search for small variations in the brightness of a star caused by the transit between it and ourselves of planets orbiting around it, and has discovered a total of 156 new planets around cool stars. From its data, it has been estimated that this type of star harbours an average of 2.5 planets with orbital periods of less than 200 days.


The radial velocity method is used to search of planet. This is based on the detection of small variations in the velocity of a star due to the gravitational attraction of a planet in orbit around it, using spectroscopic observations.

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