SPECULOOS-3B (Syllabus: GS Paper 3– Sci and Tech)

News-CRUX-10     20th May 2024        
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Context: An international team of astronomers recently detected a new, Earth-sized planet named SPECULOOS-3b, just 55 light years away, orbiting an ultra-cool red dwarf star.


  • About: It is an Earth-size planet orbiting an ultracool red dwarf star located 55 light-years away from Earth.
  • Unique Characteristics: Despite being similar in size to Jupiter, the red dwarf emits light 100 times dimmer than the sun and has half the temperature.
  • Rare Discovery: It is only the second planet of its kind discovered around this type of star.

o The discovery was made by the SPECULOOS project, led by the University of Liège, Belgium, in collaboration with several other institutions, using an observatory in the Atacama Desert of Chile.

o The SPECULOOS project aims to identify exoplanets orbiting ultra-cool dwarf stars through a network of robotic telescopes worldwide.

  • SPECULOOS-3b receives high levels of radiation from its sun, potentially leaving the planet without an atmosphere, receiving nearly 16 times more energy per second than Earth.
  • Orbital Characteristics: It takes approximately 17 hours for SPECULOOS-3b to complete an orbit around its star.

Red Dwarf Stars

  • About: These are the most common type of star in the Milky Way galaxy.
  • Characteristics: Smaller and cooler than the Sun, with surface temperatures ranging from about 2,200 to 3,500 Kelvin.
  • Long Lifespans: Red dwarfs have exceptionally long lifespans due to their slow consumption of nuclear fuel, making them valuable for studying planetary evolution and habitability over extended periods.