Astronomers have discovered a planet similar to Earth

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The super-Earth is believed to be located close to the star system's snow line.

Barnard's star B is now the second-closest known exoplanet to our Sun, after Proxima B that circles around Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf. That study was published online today (Nov. 14) in the journal Nature.

Confirmation of Barnard's Star b is unlikely to come from additional radial-velocity measurements, Diaz wrote.

Ribas said that although stargazers could predict its size and orbit with relative accuracy using the Doppler effect, any attempt at this stage to find out what the new planet looked like would be "guesswork".

"Or it may be what we call a mini-Neptune, like a scaled-down version of the gas giants of our solar system".

In the past there has been other efforts to identify a planet which is orbiting the Barnard's star have been but those trial resulted to failures. The potential planet is likely very cold, with an estimated surface temperature of about minus 275 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 170 degrees Celsius), study team members said.

The researchers were looking for the smallest change in the radiation spectrum of stars that could indicate the fluctuations in its trajectory caused by the influence of gravity of large rocky planet.

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"Though the super-Earth we detected is much too cold to be likely habitable, it does underscore exoplanet statistics that confirm there are more planets in the universe than there are stars, and more potentially habitable Earth-sized planets than grains of sand on all the beaches on our planet!" said Vogt.

Barnard's Star is about twice as old as Earth's sun, one-sixth as massive and just 3 percent as luminous. Only the Alpha Centauri triple system is closer.

Barnard's star, because of proximity to Earth, is one of the most studied areas within the Milky Way Galaxy.

However, detectable signals of a wobble from Earth-sized planets tugging on their host star are faint, and largely swamped by noise generated by the boiling surface activity of the stars themselves.

Is this planet really, though?

"After a very careful analysis, we are over 99% confident that the planet is there", said lead author Ignasi Ribas. "However, we must remain cautious and collect more data to nail the case in the future". The team of researchers combined 20 years worth of data from seven separate instruments to make their conclusion and discover the planet.

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