Finding a Goldilocks Planet


What do you suppose is going to happen first ... aliens visiting Earth or finding a Goldilocks planet? Astronomy buzz ... We have located a planet that could sustain life as we know it say astronomers.


  Alien planet looks 'just right' for life   MSNBC - September 30, 2010
Astronomers say they've found the first planet beyond our solar system that could have the right size and setting to sustain life as we know it, only 20 light-years from Earth.

  Alien life certain to exist on Earth-like planet, scientists say   Telegraph.co.uk - September 30, 2010

Alien life certain to exist on Earth-like planet, scientists say. The chances of alien life existing on a newly-discovered Earth-like planet are 100 per cent, an astronomer has claimed.

Scientists find potentially habitable planet near Earth   PhysOrg - September 29, 2010
If confirmed, this would be the most Earth-like exoplanet yet discovered and the first strong case for a potentially habitable one. To astronomers, a "potentially habitable" planet is one that could sustain life, not necessarily one that humans would consider a nice place to live. Habitability depends on many factors, but liquid water and an atmosphere are among the most important.



Zarmina's World
  NASA - October 1, 2010

A mere 20 light-years away in the constellation Libra, red dwarf star Gliese 581 has received much scrutiny by astronomers in recent years. Earthbound telescopes had detected the signatures of multiple planets orbiting the cool sun, two at least close to the system's habitable zone -- the region where an Earth-like planet can have liquid water on its surface.

Now a team headed by Steven Vogt (UCO Lick), and Paul Butler (DTM Carnagie Inst.) has announced the detection of another planet, this one squarely in the system's habitable zone. Based on 11 years of data, their work offers a very compelling case for the first potentially habitable planet found around a very nearby star. Shown in this artist's illustration of the inner part of the exoplanetary system, the planet is designated Gliese 581g, but Vogt's more personal name is Zarmina's world, after his wife. The best fit to the data indicate the planet has a circular 37 day orbit, an orbital radius of only 0.15 AU, and a mass 3.1 times the Earth's. Modeling includes estimates of a planet radius of 1.5, and gravity at the planet's surface of 1.1 to 1.7 in Earth units. Finding a habitable planet so close by suggests there are many others in our Milky Way galaxy.



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