Researchers discover a “super-Earth” type planet – GJ 536 b

Scientists have discovered a “super-Earth” type planet, GJ 536 b, in orbit around a nearby very bright star. The exoplanet has a mass of around 5.4 Earth masses and is not within the star’s habitable zone. It is orbiting a star much smaller and cooler than the sun. The planet’s short orbital period of 8.7 days and the luminosity of its star which is a red dwarf qualify it to be an attractive candidate for investigating its atmospheric composition. The planet’s short orbital period would come handy in conducting future studies of biological activity.


The discovery of exoplanet is the result of a joint effort between the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the Geneva Observatory with the help of HARPS (High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Seeker) spectrograph on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6m Telescope at La Silla (Chile) and HARPS North on the Telescopio Nacional Galileo (Garafia). The discovery has been accepted for publication in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.


Super-earths: They are merely extrasolar planets that are larger than the Earth, but have mass substantially below the solar system’s giants, namely, Uranus and Neptune.
Exoplanet: It is a planet that orbits a star outside the solar system. They are also called as extrasolar planet.

HARPS: It is a high-precision, second-generation radial velocity planet finding spectrograph. It is the most successful planet finder after the Kepler Space Observatory.


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