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Astronomers Have Found a Super-Earth Near The Habitable Zone of Its Star

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

The very tiny motion of a small star has revealed the presence of a super-Earth exoplanet, orbiting at a distance that is close to habitable.

Around a faint red dwarf called Ross 508, located just 36.5 light-years away (yet too dim to be seen with the naked eye), astronomers have confirmed the existence of a world just 4 times the mass of Earth. Given what we know about planetary mass limits, that means the world is likely to be terrestrial, or rocky, rather than gaseous.

The exoplanet, named Ross 508 b, is unlikely to be habitable for life as we know it; however, the discovery, a first for a new survey using the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan's (NAOJ) Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, demonstrates the efficacy of the techniques used to locate small planets around dim stars.


The team's research has been accepted into the Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, and is available on arXiv.


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