Scientists Just Found a SUPER EARTH 55 Light-Years Away

This artist’s concept shows a super-Earth-size exoplanet. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech. Designated Gliese 3942b, the newfound alien world is about 7.1 times as massive as the Earth.

This artist’s concept shows a super-Earth-size exoplanet. Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech.
Designated Gliese 3942b, the newfound alien world is about 7.1 times as massive as the Earth.

Spain's Institute of Space Sciences just found a "SUPER EARTH" called Gliese 3942B that orbits its own low-mass star called Gliese 3942 (also known as GJ 3942, HIP 79126 or 2MASS J16090309+5256379). These are located in the Draco constellation and are 55 light-years away from our solar system's sun. 

Gliese 3942b was found using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher for the Northern hemisphere (HARPS-N) instrument on the 3.6-m telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. 

Planet Gliese 3942B orbits its star every 6.9 days at a distance of only 0.06 AU (astronomical units).

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Dr. Manuel Perger, a postdoctoral researcher at Spain’s Institute of Space Sciences (IEEC-CSIC), estimates this planet to be 600F (317C). 

“We analyzed 145 spectroscopic HARPS-N observations of Gliese 3942 taken over the past five years and additional photometry to disentangle stellar activity effects from genuine Doppler signals as a result of the orbital motion of the star around the common barycenter with its planet,” the astronomers said.

“We identified the rotational period of the star at 16.3 days and discovered a new super-Earth, Gliese 3942B, with an orbital period of 6.9 days and a minimum mass of 7.1 Earths.”

This team of researchers even think they've found a second plane!

“An additional signal in the periodogram of the residuals is present, but we cannot claim it to be related to a second planet with sufficient significance at this point,” the researchers said.

“If confirmed, such planet candidate would have a minimum mass of 6.3 times that of the Earth, an equilibrium temperature of 468 degrees Fahrenheit (242 degrees Celsius, or 515 Kelvin), and a period of 10.4 days, which might indicate a 3:2 mean-motion resonance with the inner planet.”

“The possibility of additional planets in the Gliese 3942 system, likely in a near-resonant chain, is tantalizing but not confirmed by our analysis and thus remains open,” they added.

Wow! So, there are two or more Earth-like planets "nearby" that we could potentially travel to, inhabit, or... even meet other humans?!  

Sources:
M. Perger et al. 2017. HADES RV Programme with HARPS-N at TNG VI. GJ 3942 b behind dominant activity signals. A&A, in press; arXiv: 1709.06851