An exoplanet candidate found orbiting a star six light years away from our planet has just been declared by scientists an exoplanet, and it’s called Barnard b.
Back in November 2018, researchers said Barnard B was only a candidate exoplanet:
“After a very careful analysis, we are 99 percent confident that the planet is there,” stated Ignasi Ribas, (Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia, the Institute of Space Sciences, Spain).
Ribas explained that they would continue their study and perhaps with the technology advancement, by 2020, they could learn if this planet was there:
However, we’ll continue to observe this fast-moving star to exclude possible, but improbable, natural variations of the stellar brightness which could masquerade as a planet.
Now, only a few months later, the scientists have concluded that this was not a ‘masquerade’ and that the planet also known as a Super Earth is really there, orbiting its star – Barnard.
Alien Life Under Barnard’s Icy Surface
Barnard b has been seen first about 20 years ago, and it has finally been confirmed that it exists, but what’s more important is that it could harbor alien life. It is a rocky, frozen exoplanet, with temperatures that go around -150-degrees Celsius and a core that could be made of nickel or hot iron.
According to Astrophysicist Edward Guinan, the planet could allow life to flourish there:
Geothermal heating could support ‘life zones’ under its surface, akin to subsurface lakes found in Antarctica. We note that the surface temperature on Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is similar to Barnard b but, because of tidal heating, Europa probably has liquid oceans under its icy surface.
Guinan added that if the planet has water, Barnard could have liquid water life zones.
The planet’s star is twice as old as our Sun, and Guinan hopes that very large telescopes in the future will be able to shed more light on Barnard B:
Such observations will shed light on the nature of the planet’s atmosphere, surface, and potential habitability.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.