This Hellish 'Super-Earth' Could Have an Atmosphere
A newly discovered "super-Earth" could offer scientists the best opportunity thus far to study the atmosphere of an exoplanet
SYDNEY — A newly discovered "super-Earth" only 26 light years away could offer scientists the best opportunity thus far to study the atmosphere of a rocky planet outside our solar system.
The star was discovered by a team of astronomers from the CARMENES consortium. Their results were published on March 4 in the journal Science.
The planet, called Gliese 486b, orbits a red dwarf star once every 36 hours. With a surface temperature of 430 degrees Celsius, or 800 degrees Fahrenheit, it is too hot to support life as we know it.
This discovery is significant for two reasons: Gliese 486b is cool enough to support an atmosphere but hot enough for that atmosphere to be studied from Earth; and scientists can study that atmosphere extensively because it crosses the line of sight between Earth and its star.
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