Saturday, 2 October 2010

Planet hunters discover best Earth type planet to date.

 
A group of planet hunters have discovered, what they believe to be, the best Earth type planet to date. It is called Gliese 581g and is about twenty light years from Earth. Such claims have come from this region before, but this new claim is the most substantial of all. Planets orbiting distant stars are now detectable to planet hunting scientists, but most are on the fringe of too hot or too cold. Gliese 581 g is right in the middle. According to the Planet Hunters, this newly discovered planet  is not tilted upon its axis the way Earth is. This means there will not be seasons and a year on this planet will be very different to the way we experience things on Earth with our seasonal changes. 


Excited scientists believe this to be the first known planet to harbour life. It orbits a red dwarf and European astronomers, who made the discovery from an observatory in La Silla, Chile say Geliese 581c is likely to contain water. This new found world is in the constellation of Libra and is 20.5 light years from Earth.


The planet is 14 times closer to its star then Earth and a year on Geliese 581c lasts just 13 days. Despite this world being closer to its star then Earth is to the Sun; the red dwarf that Geliese 581c orbits is smaller and cooler then our Sun. It is also believed that Geliese 581 c has gravity twice as strong as the Earth's. Also this new world's surface temperature is between 0-40 degrees celsius (32-104 degrees Fahrenheit) In this temperature water can exist with a very strong potential for life.


This new planet was detected using an instrument called a spectrograph.
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