New Super-Earth Discovered Through HARPS-N Orbiting Ancient Star

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The HARPS spectrograph during laboratory tests. Photo via ESO on Wikimedia Commons.

A team led by Dr. Serena Benatti from the Astronomical Observatory in Italy has detected another super-Earth in the HD 164922 planetary system. The celestial body, which received the name “HD 164922d”, orbits a star known as Gliese 9613, which is approximately 9.6 billion years old. The newly found planet’s mass is estimated to be four times bigger than the Earth’s.

This planet wouldn’t have been found if it wasn’t for Global Architecture of Planetary Systems, an Italy-based program aimed at searching for new low-mass planets in the HD 164922.

According to Dr.Benatti’s interview with SyFy Wire, the work on GAPS was carried on since 2020. What would later receive the name of HD 164922d was detected through Telescopio Nazionale Galileo, a 3.6m telescope. After the supposed planet attracted the team’s attention, it was studied with the HARPS-N spectrograph, which revealed a hidden signal within the HD164922 system.

However, this super-Earth is most likely not a habitable planet — yet it still serves a great purpose to humanity’s space knowledge. The HD164922 system is a close variation of our Solar System, says  Dr. Benatti.

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