Rare ‘Super Earth’ Recently Discovered By Astronomers

by Suchismita Pal
Rare ‘Super Earth’ Recently Discovered By Astronomers

Our geography books had taught us that there are a total of nine planets in the solar system. The International Astronomical Union had however listed out Pluto from the list referring to it as a ‘dwarf planet’. The number of planets was thus reduced to eight. These planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. But wait, did you know that there’s another planet in the middle of the galaxy that has features similar to our planet? Well, that’s one of the latest discoveries by the astronomers of the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. They are calling it the ‘Super Earth’. Read on to know the details.

A ‘One In A Million’ Discovery

This amazing and rare Super Earth is a ‘one in a million’ discovery. It has been spotted towards the central part of the galaxy. It is only one of the few discovered planets that has both size and orbit identical to the Earth. Also, it revolves around a host star which is about 10 percent of the mass of the Sun. The newly discovered twin of the Earth has a mass between that of Neptune and Earth and its orbiting zone falls roughly between Venus and Earth. It is nearly 124 light-years away from the Earth and is 2.6 times its radius. The scientists reported that since its host star is smaller, the years in this new Earth are longer. They are about 617 days, as compared to 365 days of our mother planet.

Astronomers discover super earth
Picture Credits: CollectSPACE

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Use Of Gravitational Microlensing 

This research of the astronomers was recently published in the Astronomical Journal. The technique that was used to make the discovery is known as gravitational microlensing. Dr.Antonio Herrera Martin and Associate Professor Michael Albrow, the lead astronomers of the discovery belong to the university’s School of Physical and Chemical Sciences. They are a part of an international group of planet-hunters who teamed up for the Super Earth research.

Astronomers discover super earth
Picture Credits: Tynker

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Isn’t that an awe-inspiring story? But this Super Earth is definitely not for lazy people as spending 617 days in a year is no joke at all, unless you really enjoy living every moment!