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Together, they are scanning the night sky for planets orbiting nearby dim red dwarf stars.

Cold super-earth in our neighborhood, discovered page 2 - Would be worth a trip there? It's probably very rich in volatiles like water, hydrogen, carbon dioxide - things like this. So they obtained time on some telescopes to do an extensive monitoring campaign in 2016 and 2017, including simultaneous observations with more than one instrument. "It has rain and lakes made of methane". This is a red dwarf-a type of small and cool star smaller than our Sun.

Now, this cold Super-Earth is the second-closest known exoplanet to Earth, after Proxima Centaur b.

The exoplanet's sun, a tiny body known as Barnard's Star, is one of our solar system's nearest neighbors. But the methods we've used to detect majority are biased toward finding large planets that orbit close to their host stars.

Dr Mikko Tuomi, who originally discovered the planet, said: "The ability to directly image a planet greatly increases our ability to understand its characteristics and increase the potential for possible exploration in future, helping astronomers discover more about the planets that lie beyond our solar system". We followed Barnard's star for 16 long years at Keck, amassing some 260 radial velocities of Barnard's star by 2013. The technique consists on using the Doppler effect on the starlight to measure how the speed of an object in our line of sight changes over time.

Their measurements suggested that Barnard's Star is approaching and moving away from us at about walking speed - and it is best explained by a planet, Barnard's star b, orbiting it. As it moves towards Earth its light appears shifted towards the blue part of the spectrum and, as it moves away, it appears shifted towards the red.

The planet is about the same orbital distance from its star as Mercury is from our sun, making a full pass around the star every 233 days.

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A light-year is the distance light travels in one year.

By crunching a wealth of data gathered by many different observational efforts, the scientists believe that the planet orbiting the dim star is a big ball of rock much like Earth, only significantly larger.

One of them was the new state-of-the-art planet-hunting instrument Carmenes at the Calar Alto Observatory in Spain. "We got this very clear signal that is there, so we have no doubt that this periodicity is there".

When the next generation of telescopes come online, scientists will be able to characterise the planet's properties. This region in a planetary system is where the building blocks of planets are thought to form, collecting material to become cores. This helps you find them even in those cases, if aktery not pass through the disk of a star and not call them temporary tarnishing. "But in the USA, they are also developing WFirst - a small telescope that's also used for cosmology", said Dr Anglada Escudé.

In the 1930s, Dutch-American astronomer Peter van de Kamp began a quest to study Barnard's star that lasted for most of his 93 years. A few telescopes with coronagraphs-devices for masking a star's light-have directly imaged a few large planets in wide orbits, but something like Barnard's star b will require the greater resolution of giant telescopes coming in the next decade, such as Europe's 39-meter Extremely Large Telescope.

The new signal, on the other hand, seems to indicate something about 15 Earth-masses, which is unlikely to show a noticeable astrometric signal from Earth. Super-Earths are like nothing we have in our solar system and have only been discovered orbiting other stars more distant than Barnard's Star.