To us, a super-Earth is a very interesting class of planets for the simple reason that there are none in our Solar System. It would be a rocky planet larger than ours but smaller than a gas giant.
What we discovered thanks to the Subaru Telescope of the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) in Hawaii is called Ross 508 b and orbits a rather faint red dwarf located only 36.5 light-years away from us.
Interstellar radiation hits Ross 508 with only 1.4 times that of solar radiation hitting Earth, making the exoplanet very close to the inner outer edge of its star’s habitable zone. However, the data collected tells us that it is unlikely that there will be life as we know it in this world.
What makes this discovery more unusual than anything else is the fact that it recorded the existence of a planet around such a faint star, confirming that new techniques for searching for exoplanets are becoming increasingly efficient and sophisticated.
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