50 years in the past, astronomers challenged claims that Barnard’s star has a planet


An illustration of an exoplanet in orbit around a star.

For many years, scientists and science fiction authors have speculated about whether or not Barnard’s star, the quickest transferring star within the evening sky and simply six light-years from the solar, would possibly host a planet (one illustrated).

M. Kornmesser/ESO

Cover of the December 1, 1973 issue of Science News

No planet for Barnard’s star? — Science Information, December 1, 1973

Over time proof has been introduced ahead for planetary companions revolving round two or three stars aside from the solar. The primary of those was Barnard’s star, which had been studied by Peter van de Kamp…. The presence of a planet may trigger a wobble in a star’s movement throughout the sky. Van de Kamp discovered a wobble.… [Further] scrutiny doesn’t discover the [wobble].… Thus there could be no planet.

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Astronomers now know of 1000’s of exoplanets within the Milky Method (SN: 4/23/22, p. 5). However Barnard’s star remains to be with no confirmed exoplanet regardless of cautious scrutiny. A 2018 declare of an exoplanet about thrice as huge as Earth has been questioned. In July, a survey of 200 low-mass crimson dwarfs, together with Barnard’s star, discovered no Jupiter-sized exoplanets (SN: 7/15/23 & 7/29/23, p. 9). Such stars might have sufficient particles round them to type solely small exoplanets.

Physics author Emily Conover has a Ph.D. in physics from the College of Chicago. She is a two-time winner of the D.C. Science Writers’ Affiliation Newsbrief award.

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