Friday, October 01, 2010

First Truly Habitable Planet Discovered, Experts Say

First Truly Habitable Planet Discovered, Experts Say

Earthlike world in elusive "Goldilocks zone."

Star Gliese 581.
The new planet Gliese 581g bears Earthlike blues and greens in an artist's conception.

Illustration courtesy Lynette Cook

John Roach

for National Geographic News

Published September 29, 2010

Astronomers studying a nearby star say they've found the first potentially habitable planet—likely a rocky place with an atmosphere, temperate regions, and crucially, liquid water, considered vital for life as we know it.

Other extrasolar planets have been called Earthlike, but, astronomer Paul Butler assured, "this is really the first Goldilocks planet"—not too hot, not too cold.

Orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581 about every 37 days, the new planet, named Gliese 581g, is "just the right size and just at the right distance [from its star] to have liquid water on the surface," added Butler, of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., during an online press briefing today.

Posted via email from Web Stream - Vishal Shah (goldenV)

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