NASA Discovers Super-Earth Outside Solar System

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has confirmed the discovery of an exoplanet, in the Cassiopeia constellation.

“Most of the known planets are hundreds of light-years away. This one is practically a next-door neighbor,” said astronomer and study co-author Lars A. Buchhave of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For reference, the closest known planet is GJ674b at 14.8 light-years away.

hd-219134b
hd-219134b

Super-earth –  HD 219134 b, with a size of about 1.6 Earth, and a density of 6 g/cm3, was reported as the closest rocky exoplanet to the Earth, at 21.25 light-years away. The exoplanet has a mass of about 4.5 times that of Earth and orbits its host star every three days.

PIA19832-StarHD219134-Location-20150730
Star HR 8832 (circled) lies just off the “W” shape of the constellation Cassiopeia.

Identified by the Galileo Telescope in the Canary Islands, the planet is outside of habitable zone thus unsuitable for life as it orbits too close to its home star.

According to the NASA press release, “Transiting exoplanets are worth their weight in gold because they can be extensively characterized” This exoplanet will be one of the most studied for decades to come, said Michael Werner, the project scientist for the Spitzer mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

 

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