First Truly Habitable Planet Discovered, Experts Say
Earthlike world in elusive "Goldilocks zone."
Illustration courtesy Lynette Cook
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.
Friday, October 01, 2010
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