A new super-Earth discovered orbiting a red dwarf star

A student at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, a research institute in the Canary Islands, has uncovered a new super Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf. It only takes 2.4 days to complete one orbit around its star.

That means where Earth takes 365.25 days to complete a year, this new super Earth does in less than a week — in two days, nine hours and thirty minutes to be precise.

“This is the planet with the second shortest orbital period around this type of star,” said Borja Toledo Padron, the first author of the report published in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

In recent years there has been an exhaustive study of red dwarf stars to find exoplanets in orbit around them. These stars have effective surface temperatures between 2400 and 3700 K (over 2000 degrees cooler than the Sun), and masses between 0.08 and 0.45 solar masses. In this context, a team of researchers led by Borja Toledo Padrón, a Severo Ochoa-La Caixa doctoral student at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), specializing in the search for planets around this type of stars, has discovered a super-Earth orbiting the star GJ 740, a red dwarf star situated some 36 light years from the Earth.

The planet orbits its star with a period of 2.4 days and its mass is around 3 times the mass of the Earth. Because the star is so close to the Sun, and the planet so close to the star, this new super-Earth could be the object of future researches with very large diameter telescopes towards the end of this decade. The results of the study were recently published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.