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Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet (water world found?)
AP via Yahoo! News ^ | April 21, 2009 | JENNIFER QUINN

Posted on 04/21/2009 3:45:07 PM PDT by americanophile

HATFIELD, England – In the search for Earth-like planets, astronomers zeroed in Tuesday on two places that look awfully familiar to home. One is close to the right size. The other is in the right place. European researchers said they not only found the smallest exoplanet ever, called Gliese 581 e, but realized that a neighboring planet discovered earlier, Gliese 581 d, was in the prime habitable zone for potential life.

"The Holy Grail of current exoplanet research is the detection of a rocky, Earth-like planet in the 'habitable zone,'" said Michel Mayor, an astrophysicist at Geneva University in Switzerland.

An American expert called the discovery of the tiny planet "extraordinary."

Gliese 581 e is only 1.9 times the size of Earth — while previous planets found outside our solar system are closer to the size of massive Jupiter, which NASA says could swallow more than 1,000 Earths.

Gliese 581 e sits close to the nearest star, making it too hot to support life. Still, Mayor said its discovery in a solar system 20 1/2 light years away from Earth is a "good example that we are progressing in the detection of Earth-like planets."

Scientists also discovered that the orbit of planet Gliese 581 d, which was found in 2007, was located within the "habitable zone" — a region around a sun-like star that would allow water to be liquid on the planet's surface, Mayor said.

He spoke at a news conference Tuesday at the University of Hertfordshire during the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science.

Gliese 581 d is probably too large to be made only of rocky material, fellow astronomer and team member Stephane Udry said, adding it was possible the planet had a "large and deep" ocean.

"It is the first serious 'water-world' candidate," Udry said.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: discovery; gliese581; gliese581e; ocean; planet; xplanets
...large and deep ocean??? Now that's interesting.
1 posted on 04/21/2009 3:45:07 PM PDT by americanophile
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To: americanophile

‘It was possible’ to have a large and deep ocean. I don’t think they know for sure yet.


2 posted on 04/21/2009 3:49:03 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: americanophile

And already Obama said he was sorry about the wrongs the USA might do to it.


3 posted on 04/21/2009 3:50:33 PM PDT by Yorlik803 ( If this be treason, then lets make the best of it.)
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To: MHGinTN
We need warp drive...


4 posted on 04/21/2009 3:51:47 PM PDT by Dallas59 ("You know the one with the big ears? He might be yours, but he ain't my president.")
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To: Yorlik803
And already Obama said he was sorry about the wrongs the USA might do to it.

I really wish that wasn't as funny as it is.

5 posted on 04/21/2009 3:52:30 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.)
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To: Yorlik803
CLASSIC!

P.S. You owe me a new keyboard.
6 posted on 04/21/2009 3:55:11 PM PDT by Sudetenland (Congress has too many politicians and Leftistlators and not enough Constitutionalists.)
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To: Dallas59

We need a Tardis.


7 posted on 04/21/2009 3:55:15 PM PDT by MHGinTN (Believing they cannot be deceived, they cannot be convinced when they are deceived.)
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To: americanophile

Excellent! When can we begin exploiting it’s natural resources?


8 posted on 04/21/2009 3:55:54 PM PDT by MAexile (Bats left, votes right)
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To: americanophile

Next they will have indisputable proof of life there.


9 posted on 04/21/2009 3:59:33 PM PDT by mountainlion (concerned conservative.)
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To: americanophile

20 1/2 light years is like right next door!


10 posted on 04/21/2009 4:01:30 PM PDT by El Sordo
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To: El Sordo

They could be watching Melrose Place, Will & Grace, Ally McBeal, and Suddenly Susan right now. Those poor aliens.


11 posted on 04/21/2009 4:08:59 PM PDT by AUH2O Repub (Should have been Thompson/Hutchinson)
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To: americanophile

Can we send all the liberals there?


12 posted on 04/21/2009 4:09:18 PM PDT by nobama08
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To: Yorlik803

He has to bow first, then apologize.


13 posted on 04/21/2009 4:09:55 PM PDT by max americana
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To: AUH2O Repub

Or even worse, MSNBC.


14 posted on 04/21/2009 4:10:12 PM PDT by nobama08
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To: MHGinTN

15 posted on 04/21/2009 4:10:35 PM PDT by Dallas59 ("You know the one with the big ears? He might be yours, but he ain't my president.")
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To: americanophile
Could be. The news: This planet is the first one known to be Earth-sized and in the habitable zone for its parent star; water could exist on it. However, it's going to take a couple of orders of magnitude more resolution and calculating power to determine if water vapor exists around it.
16 posted on 04/21/2009 4:13:40 PM PDT by GAB-1955 (I write books, love my wife, serve my nation, and believe in the Resurrection.)
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To: Dallas59

what is that from?


17 posted on 04/21/2009 4:20:56 PM PDT by Michael Barnes
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To: Michael Barnes
That's from the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. "All Good Things..."
Riker's Enterprise saving Picard's butt from Klingons.

I. Am. Such. A. Geek.
18 posted on 04/21/2009 4:25:25 PM PDT by RandallFlagg (Satisfaction was my sin)
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To: americanophile; SunkenCiv

An artist's impression of 'Planet e' , forground left, released by the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere Tuesday April 21, 2009. Exoplanet researcher Michel Mayor announced Tuesday the discovery of the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, 'e', in the famous system Gliese 581, in the constellation of Libra and 20.5 light years (192 trillion km or 119 trillion miles) away, is only about twice the mass of Earth...

19 posted on 04/21/2009 4:35:32 PM PDT by Fred Nerks (fair dinkum!)
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To: americanophile

The ocean part is complete BS. There’s no possible way he could know that to be true - from the dearth of information we have it could just be a particularly massive rock, or equally possible a binary planet (which would be a very cool find in it’s own right). We’re maybe a decade away from having instruments with the level of sensitivity required to start finding earth-like worlds, and until then it’s all just speculation.


20 posted on 04/21/2009 4:46:48 PM PDT by eclecticEel ("Envy is always referred to by its political alias, 'social justice.' " - T. Sowell)
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To: Yorlik803

Great comment, I will have to steal it!


21 posted on 04/21/2009 4:49:06 PM PDT by Aussiebabe
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To: americanophile

Gliese 581 is a red dwarf sun 20.3 light years away from Earth. This would mean a travel time of over 200 years with an unmanned Orion thermonuclear powered spaceship.

However, if that spaceship had an entangled qubit communications system, effectively creating faster than light communications, it could likewise be used as a deep space Hubble telescope.


22 posted on 04/21/2009 5:43:37 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: Fred Nerks; JoeProBono; KevinDavis; annie laurie; garbageseeker; Knitting A Conundrum; ...
Thanks! JPB sent a link, and despite my couple of hours online tonight, hadn't gotten past the point of opening it in a so-far unused tab. ;')
 
X-Planets
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic ·
Google news searches: exoplanet · exosolar · extrasolar ·

23 posted on 04/21/2009 7:45:03 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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from the BBC news story:
THE GLIESE 581 SOLAR SYSTEM
From closest in to furthest out
Planet e is 1.9 Earth masses
Planet b is 16 Earth masses
Planet c is 5 Earth masses
Planet d is 7 Earth masses
The first planet to be found is always given the 'b' designation

24 posted on 04/21/2009 7:48:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8008683.stm

...Gliese 581 e takes just 3.15 days to orbit its host star... The team now believes planet d (which is about seven Earth-masses in size) circles Gliese 581 in 66.8 days.


25 posted on 04/21/2009 7:49:43 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/____________________ Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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