Potential super-Earth found nearby after decades-long hunt

Astronomers may have finally found an alien world orbiting the science fiction staple known as Barnard's Star.

Just six light-years away, a frozen world seems to be orbiting a small, dim red star. If it’s truly there, the alien planet would at least partly fulfill a fantasy decades in the making, and it could become one of the most promising targets for astronomers keen on getting to know the many worlds beyond our solar system.

The newfound candidate planet, described today in the journal Nature, orbits what’s colloquially known as Barnard’s Star, the closest single star to our sun. The bright Alpha Centauri system, which is two light-years closer and hosts a planet of its own, is actually made up of three stars. By contrast, Barnard’s star is a small red dwarf that’s older than

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