OTHERS OUT THERE

‘Super Earth’ Found Orbiting Nearby Star

The second-closest planet outside Earth’s solar system was recently discovered orbiting around a star, USA Today reports. According to a study published in Nature, the planet orbiting Barnard’s Star has over three times the Earth’s mass and an estimated temperature of 238 degrees below zero. Scientists say the planet, called Barnard’s Star b, belongs in the “super Earth” category—meaning it is larger than Earth but smaller than other planets like Uranus and Neptune. Scientists also say the newly discovered exoplanet, or a planet outside of our solar system, orbits the “fastest-moving star in the night sky.” The planet reportedly occupies a distant region that is “well beyond the habitable zone in which liquid water” or life could exist, and only gets about 2 percent of the energy the Earth receives from the sun. Scientists reportedly used data from “seven different instruments” over a 20 year period to conclude there is a 99 percent chance the planet exists.