A new 'Super Earth' rotating around a nearby star with a mass that is 5.4 times that of Earth was recently discovered by scientists.
It was found orbiting a very bright star near the Sun.
This is the exoplanet, GJ 536 b, and is not part of a habitable zone, but its short, orbital period of 8.7 days as well as its luminosity is alluring. It draws scientists to explore its atmospheric condition.
Being a red dwarf, it is cool and close to the Sun, said the scientists. They have found a cycle of magnetic activity somewhat like the sun. However, the period of three years is much shorter.
"So far, the only planet we have found is GJ 536 b, but we are continuing to monitor the star to see if we can find other companions," said Alejandro Suarez Mascareno from the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) in Spain.
"Rocky planets are usually found in groups, especially around stars of this type, and we are pretty sure that we can find other low-mass planets in orbits further from the star, with periods from 100 days up to a few years," Mascareno said. "We are preparing a programme of monitoring for transits of this new exoplanet to determine its radius and mean density."
As the exoplanet is orbiting a star that is much smaller and cooler than the Sun, its USP is that it is close by, and very bright, according to the researcher Jonay Isai Gonzalez.
"It is also observable from both the northern and southern hemispheres, which is very interesting for future high-stability spectrographs, and in particular, for the possible detection of another rocky planet in the habitability zone of the star," said Gonzalez.
Scientists located the planet by measuring the star's velocity accurately, with an accuracy that was of "the order of a metre per second."