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A potentially habitable planet 20 light years from Earth?

Updated on September 9, 2012

Earth-Like Planets?


The recent discovery of a new Earth-like planet in many ways, allows us to ask if it could possibly be capable of supporting life.


It is one of 2 new planets found around the star Gliese 581, a red dwarf star located about 20 light-years from Earth. The planet, called Gliese 581g, orbits within the range known as the habitable zone.


This strip is determined by the minimum and maximum distances between one world and its star that allow the planet to receive the energy needed to maintain liquid water on the surface or close to it .






This finding suggests that the number of stars in our galaxy to them about potentially habitable planets may be much greater than previously thought. The new study brings to six the total number of planets orbiting Gliese 581. These planets orbit their star in nearly circular orbits, as in our solar system.











However, in the dawn or twilight zones of permanent temperatures would be temperate, becoming progressively warmer towards the sunlit, and cooler in the opposite direction. The gravity on the planet's surface is between 10 and 70 percent larger than Earth.

Therefore, it is strong enough to retain an atmosphere. The very fact that astronomers have been able to detect this planet so soon and so near the Earth suggests that habitable planets are common.

As some others like planets have been discovered, it will be possible to make a fairly reliable estimate of the percentage of existing biological potential planets in the galaxy.

The astronomers, members of the Lick-Carnegie search for exoplanets (a team that depends on the Carnegie Institute and the Lick Observatory), analyzed 11 years of radial velocity data of the star.

This method of radial velocity analysis is based on measuring the subtle movements of a star in response to the "tug of war" with other gravitational bodies holding in your neighborhood. Although the gravitational effect of a planet on its star is much lower than the exerted by it on the planet, is sufficiently strong to be measured, thus allowing the presence of the latter. The data analysis has allowed researchers to determine the planet's mass and orbital period, and from this has been possible to infer other information.

The team's calculations suggest that Paul Butler of the planet is between 3.1 and 4.3 times the mass of the Earth, follows an orbit circular of 36.6-day around its sun, its diameter is between 20 and 50 percent greater than the Earth.

It is quite likely that the world due to its remarkable proximity to the star, has rotation synchronized with its rotation, so that always present the same face to the star. If so, that means that on one side of the planet is simply always day, and the other is always at night, with the consequence of a scorching heat on the day side and freezing cold on the night side.


Habitable Planets Links



Planetary characteristics
>>>>>>>>The idea that planets beyond Earth might host life is an ancient one, though historically it was framed by philosophy as much as physical science. These findings confirm that the Sun is not unique among stars in hosting planets and expands the habitability research horizon beyond our own solar system. In 1964 Stephen H. Dole estimated the number of habitable planets in our Galaxy to be about 600 million. The habitable zone (HZ)(Planetary Habitability Index) is a theoretical shell surrounding a star in which any planet present would have liquid water on its surface.

Alternative star systems
>>>>>>>>> The idea that planets beyond Earth might host life is an ancient one, though historically it was framed by philosophy as much as physical science. These findings confirm that the Sun is not unique among stars in hosting planets and expands the habitability research horizon beyond our own solar system. In 1964 Stephen H. Dole estimated the number of habitable planets in our Galaxy to be about 600 million. The habitable zone (HZ)(Planetary Habitability Index) is a theoretical shell surrounding a star in which any planet present would have liquid water on its surface.

Gliese 581
Gliese 581 System This artists concept shows the inner planets of the Gliese 581 system. Could Alien Life Exist in the Methane Habitable Zone? But what if life on alien planets could exist with another solvent? Given a planet well centered in its habitable zone, like Gliese 581 g is supposed to be, and tolerable temperatures might exist over much of the surface.

5 possible Earth-like habitable planets found - Technology ...
>>>>>>>> Five potential Earth-sized planets that may support liquid water – and so possibly life – have been found by NASA's Kepler mission. All five orbit the habitable zone – the region around a star where the temperature is just right for the existence of liquid water – of stars that are smaller and cooler than the sun, NASA announced at a news conference Wednesday. Liquid water could make it possible for life as we know it to exist on those planets. Overall, Kepler found 54 potential planets around the habitable zones of several stars, although most are at least double the size of Earth.

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    • profile image

      the voice 

      5 years ago

      Crazy thought for all of you to think about tonight. Scientist said that there used to be water on Mars and before the atmosphere decade that life may have lived on Mars. Now to the Bible; in the Bible its says Eden was much warmer then on Earth. So with these two things you see that MAYBE the human race are the Martians that left there civilization on Mars to the next planet to hold them. Earth. this also explains the weird phenomenons from earlier civilizations. If we look at the animals on earth none of then have evolved like the human race has. We are the most complex specie on Earth.

    • Buzzbee profile imageAUTHOR

      Buzzbee 

      6 years ago from The County of the Winkies in Oz

      lavender: If only we could all live to be 1,000 what incredible things we would see then! Someday our descendants will surely visit such planets and have the space to start a new earth.

      Cat R: you said it! It seems that the odds are in favour of there being plenty of folks like us out there. I just hope they are friendly! ;)

      Kimber: That is true. Even is we are the only ones in this great universe, we have lots of real estate to choose from in the new planets that support life.

    • KimberFire profile image

      KimberFire 

      6 years ago from USA

      We are the only people in the universe, but that doesn't mean we can't live on a different planet

    • Cat R profile image

      Cat R 

      6 years ago from North Carolina, U.S.

      Very interesting. Leaves the question if there are other planets capable of sustaining life and if we are the only ones 'out there'.

    • profile image

      lavender3957 

      6 years ago

      This is very interesting. I wonder if in the future if we will be getting in spaceships to visit family and friends on another planet that is inhabited for humans. It is possible I suppose with new technology and science. It is so interesting to actually see this action at my age.

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