Scientists discover Super Earth ‘GJ 536 b’ orbiting red dwarf close to Sun

Scientists have discovered a Super Earth planet which has a mass 5.4 times that of Earth. The planet is orbiting a bright star which is close to our sun. The exoplanet has been christened as GJ 536 b. Though the planet is not within the GoldiLocks Zone or the region of the habitable zone, its short orbital period of 8.7 days and the luminosity of its parent star makes it an excellent candidate for studying its atmospheric composition. The planet’s parent star, the GJ 536, is a red dwarf which is much cooler and nearer to our sun.

The discovery of the planet was not easy, and the researchers had to measure the velocity of the star with an accuracy of a meter per second. The study further revealed that a cycle of magnetic property much akin to the sun existed but with a shorter period of three years. The researchers have been able to discern only one planet but have not denied the possibility of other companion heavenly bodies. Alejandro Suarez Mascareno affiliated to the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and University of La Laguna (ULL) in Spain have said that they will continue to monitor the star and seek out other associated companions.

Scientists opine that rocky planets of this type are never solitary and occur along with low-mass planets which have distant orbits from the star, with periods from 100 days up to a few years. The planet in question is orbiting a star which is much cooler and smaller than the sun. Therefore the chance of another rocky planet in the habitability zone of the star is very high.

As already stated, the astronomers had to measure the velocity of the star with high accuracy. The finding appears in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.