The artist's impression of the view from the surface of the planet.
Living in the Northern Hemisphere, learn: A humble star above you, astronomers have discovered evidence of a foreign world.
Unlike any of our own solar systems, the proposed new planet, researchers say – more than Earth, but less than Neptune, and far enough from its smiling, red sun that any water on its surface is locked in the ice.
But this frozen supermodel, the second-largest exoplanet known to science, is an awesome thread that could still be there. And in such a distant time when the telescopes are capable of taking photographs of the planet around other stars, it may be the first new world that we see.
"We are moving from science fiction to scientific reality," said Carnegie astronomer Johanna Teske, who participated in a study on the new planet, published Wednesday in Nature magazine. "There are so many opportunities there."
The Exoplanet Sun, a small structure known as Barnard's star, is one of the closest neighboring countries in our solar system. The only stars closer are the triple stars of the Alpha Centauri system, which are mostly visible in the southern sky. One of these stars, Proxima Centauri, stops with a small planet, but the star's typical tendency to emit dead outbursts means the planet is unlikely to be inhabited.
Barnard's Star has long been the "big white whine" of exoplanet hunting, said Carnegie astronomer Paul Butler, co-writer for Nature Paper. Only six light years from our sun and possibly twice as many. More than 50 years ago, one of the main exoplanet researcher architects, astronomer Peter van de Kamp, suggested that this star could occupy the planet. In the 1970s, British astronomers explored the possibility of sending an expanded starter to test the alien system – although there was no evidence that the planet should be explored.
But it was only when the first exoplanet discovery in 1995 that the start of the shameful search of Barnard's Star was seriously confirmed was confirmed in 1995.
This red dwarf is the tenth mass of our sun and too weak that can be seen with the naked eye. However, its low mass makes it ideally suited for analysis using an eclipse detection radial velocity technique that uses how the gravitational force of the planet opens the vibration of the star as it orbits around.
Observing telescopes on three continents has been shown by Barnard's star, which allows researchers to accumulate around 800 observations over a period of 20 years. The authors of the study also used the data collected by astronomer amateurs.
Astronomer Ignasi Ribass, director of the Space Research Institute in Catalonia (Spain), and lead author of Nature Paper, told astronomer Ignasi Ribass, the co-author of more than 50 researchers at two or three institutions, but "slowly our data signal came out of the whole noise level."
The periodic wave of Barnard's Stars indicates that it is bypassed by a large planet every 233 days. So far from the stars, many exoplanets have been found (planets with short orbital periods generate more frequent signals, making it easier to identify).
Since the Barnard's Star is so low, the planet's long orbital period leads to a "snow line", where the sun's radiation is so weak that its surface is constantly frozen. Its average surface temperature is likely to be free-150 degrees Celsius (-238 degrees Fahrenheit).
It places the planet outside of the traditional "habitat area", where conditions are meant for life. But Teske pointed out that microbes are elastic creatures; if there is water on the planet and, if there are other necessary ingredients, it is possible that organisms can escape in the ocean under the ice.
However, much about the planet around Barnard's star is still unclear. Astronomers are not sure if it is rocky, such as the Earth, or that gas and ice, like Neptune, are created. They know that it must be at least three times larger than the Earth, but it can be even larger.
They are not even 100 percent sure that the planet is there, Ribas noted. The research focuses on the limits of radial speed detection techniques, which is becoming increasingly difficult, the further the star is planet. Mathematical models show that there is still a 0.8 percent chance that the apparent vibrations of Barnard's Star are caused by some other factor, such as sunspots. For this reason, the exoplanet is considered to be a "candidate" rather than an acknowledged discovery.
Commenting on Nature, writes Rodrigo Diaz, astronomer at the University of Buenos Aires, who was involved in research, "complicated findings such as this are based on independent methods and research groups." But, if confirmed, the "remarkable planet" will provide "the key to building and evolving planets," he wrote.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from the syndicated stream.)