Thank dog, we're saved!
A new "Super-Earth" has been discovered and it couldn't have come at a better time, because Regular Earth gotta go. Fires, hurricanes, other people--we've really wreaked havoc on this one, so this is the best possible news! And it's only six light years away! Which is just *Googles* 35.28 trillion miles...
But still, in space terms, that's pretty darn close, so it is an extraordinary finding nonetheless--yet more evidence that despite what so many of us think, the world emphatically does not revolve around us.
Hanging out near Barnard's Star, a red dwarf, the newly discovered expolanet, cleverly named "Barnard's Star b," is the closest world to Earth ever discovered in a single star system, and is the second closest of all known exoplanets. The closest, an Earth-scale world called Proxima b, is four light years away in the Alpha Centauri system.
Barnard's Star b is at least three times the size of earth, and has a year that is only 233 days long, which sounds like such a blessing. (Imagine just getting a year the hell over with in eight months!) But because nothing can ever just be simple and good, Barnard's Star b comes with one serious drawback: it is colder than... well, like, anything you can possibly think of: about -274 Farenheit. So, you know, bring a sweater or whatever!
Barnard's Star has been the subject of scientific scrutiny for over 100 years due to its uniqueness: it's close to Earth, moves extremely rapidly and is very old--a ripe seven to 12 billion years of age. More intriguing is that while Red dwarfs usually produce violent flares that make their associated planets unsustainable for any kind of life, Barnard's Star keeps its flares to a minimum, making it possible that the system holds habitable environments somewhere.
On social media, many people were enthralled by this new discovery:
In the not-so-distant someday when telescopes become capable of photographing planets around other stars, this may… https://t.co/iPo19KBZMz— Sarah Kaplan (@Sarah Kaplan) 1542227005.0
@sciam @LeeBillings I can never get enough of these interstellar studies. A planet six light years away, the disco… https://t.co/WzD5uDxM8J— Erik (@Erik) 1542264203.0
@sarahkaplan48 Every generation believes that they live in the best times and most advanced but every generation is… https://t.co/IPPd5OPmyK— Ro (@Ro) 1542248760.0
@ESO That’s so dope— Santana 🌕 (@Santana 🌕) 1542259845.0
But mostly, it was just jokes about existential dread...
@sciam https://t.co/qfHpogVp8b— Cat Taber (@Cat Taber) 1542253776.0
@carnegiescience @CarnegiePlanets @CarnegieAstro @Pale_red_dot @johannateske @sharonxuesong Am I the only one looking up tickets? #letsgo— Miguel Galeana (@Miguel Galeana) 1542278097.0
@VICE Only 6 light years away from being gentrified— VSOP’s Fables (@VSOP’s Fables) 1542258096.0
@NatGeo This is great news, Everyone jump in your Tesla’s, we can be to planet “Fuckshititscold” by neveruary.— camo lord (@camo lord) 1542249332.0
@VICE That's approximately 35.28 trillion miles by the way. Who's gonna pay for gas?— John Conway (@John Conway) 1542233762.0
@NatGeo hell yeah let's kill that one too— ALL MIGHT (@ALL MIGHT) 1542248346.0
@coffee_cans @NatGeo Patience. In time. In time.— Samura35 (@Samura35) 1542253221.0
maybe Super Earth will be forced to eat Normal Earth and that's how this whole thing will end https://t.co/Qf0FHunSeK— Anna Swartz (@Anna Swartz) 1542227829.0
So where is all this research leading? As the study's co-author Cristina Rodriguez-Lopez, of Spain's Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia put it: "This discovery means a boost to continue searching for exoplanets around our closest stellar neighbors, in the hope that eventually we will come upon one that has the right conditions to host life."
THANK GOD. Help us, Cristina Rodriguez-Lopez, you're our only hope!