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First habitable Earth like planet outside Solar System discovered
Zeenews.com ^ | April 24, 2007

Posted on 04/24/2007 1:41:01 PM PDT by Sopater

Munich, April 24: An international team of astronomers from Switzerland, France and Portugal have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date.

The planet has a radius only 50 percent larger than Earth and is very likely to contain liquid water on its surface.

The research team used the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) 3.6-m telescope to discover the super-Earth, which has a mass about five times that of the Earth and orbits a red dwarf already known to harbour a Neptune-mass planet.

Astronomers believe there is a strong possibility in the presence of a third planet with a mass about eight times that of the Earth in the system.

However, unlike our Earth, this planet takes only 13 days to complete one orbit round its star. It is also 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is from the Sun.

However, since its host star, the red dwarf Gliese 581, is smaller and colder than the Sun – and thus less luminous – the planet lies in the habitable zone, the region around a star where water could be liquid!

“We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,” said Stéphane Udry from the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland and lead-author of the paper in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

“Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth’s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky – like our Earth – or covered with oceans,” he said.

“Liquid water is critical to life as we know it and because of its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target of the future space missions dedicated to the search for extra-terrestrial life. On the treasure map of the Universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X,” added Xavier Delfosse, a member of the team from Grenoble University, France.

According to the research team, the host star, Gliese 581, is among the 100 closest stars to us, located only 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra (“the Scales”).

The star has a mass only one third that of the Sun. Such red dwarfs are at least 50 times intrinsically fainter than the Sun and are the most common stars in our Galaxy. Among the 100 closest stars to the Sun, 80 belong to this class.

“Red dwarfs are ideal targets for the search for such planets because they emit less light, and the habitable zone is thus much closer to them than it is around the Sun. Any planets that lie in this zone are more easily detected with the radial-velocity method, the most successful in detecting exoplanets,” said Xavier Bonfils, a co-worker from Lisbon University.

Bureau Report


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: exoplanet; exoplanets; gliese581; libra; planet; science; space; xplanet; xplanets
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Cool.
1 posted on 04/24/2007 1:41:03 PM PDT by Sopater
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To: Sopater

I don’t know about “habitable”, though. I’d weigh 1000 lbs!


2 posted on 04/24/2007 1:44:57 PM PDT by HeadOn (Use your brain. Nuff said.)
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To: Sopater
Wake me when they discover that it's suffering from GlobalWarming™.
3 posted on 04/24/2007 1:45:23 PM PDT by Egon ("If all your friends were named Cliff, would you jump off them??" - Hugh Neutron)
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To: Sopater

Now we need an FTL drive to get there.....


4 posted on 04/24/2007 1:45:42 PM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: Sopater

“However, unlike our Earth, this planet takes only 13 days to complete one orbit round its star”

Wow, a 13 day year. The IRS would love it.


5 posted on 04/24/2007 1:45:48 PM PDT by Neville72 (uist)
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To: HeadOn

I was going to say that Al Gore would find this as good news, but if you’d weigh 1000 lbs, he’d probably weigh 5,000.


6 posted on 04/24/2007 1:46:35 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: Sopater

The problem is that red dwarfs are rather unstable stars and prone to sending out large bursts of Xrays from time to time.


7 posted on 04/24/2007 1:46:46 PM PDT by Dreagon
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To: Egon

Wake me when they discover that it’s suffering from GlobalWarming™.

You beat me to it, that is exactly what I was thinking. LOL


8 posted on 04/24/2007 1:47:14 PM PDT by Chicos_Bail_Bonds
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To: Sopater

We could leave right now, and still not get there by breakfast...


9 posted on 04/24/2007 1:47:18 PM PDT by Hegemony Cricket (Your mileage may vary - right now my mileage is pretty much aweful.)
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To: Sopater

How about dat.


10 posted on 04/24/2007 1:47:33 PM PDT by sully777 (You have flies in your eyes--Catch-22)
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To: Sopater

Calling it “habitable” is an awfully optimistic claim. Interesting story anyway.


11 posted on 04/24/2007 1:47:53 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Peace without victory is a temporary illusion.)
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To: Spktyr

I suggest we immediately send Al Gore on a space shuttle to investigate.


12 posted on 04/24/2007 1:47:54 PM PDT by Waverunner
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To: Sopater
According to the research team, the host star, Gliese 581, is among the 100 closest stars to us, located only 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra (“the Scales”).

Oh GREAT! If they have decoded our transmissions, they are now observing:

German lands airplane on Red Square, Moscow

Thatcher re-elected (again)

The INF agreement between the US and the USSR

Black Monday - Stock market drops 22% on October 19th.

Artists protest the ongoing Sistine Chapel restoration.

Condom commericals begin to appear on TV for the first time.

US budget reaches the trillion dollar mark.

Robert Bork was denied a Supreme Court appointment after opposition to his involvement in Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" was raised.

Jessica Hahn is implicated in the Jimmy Bakker scandal

13 posted on 04/24/2007 1:48:00 PM PDT by Gorzaloon (Global Warming: A New Kind Of Scientology for the Rest Of Us.)
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To: Neville72
Wow, a 13 day year. The IRS would love it.

Wow, I'm almost 1500 years old!

14 posted on 04/24/2007 1:48:16 PM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Sopater

I hope it’s water, because I’d weigh 300 pounds on that planet...........


15 posted on 04/24/2007 1:48:25 PM PDT by Red Badger (If it's consensus, it's not science. If it's science, there's no need for consensus......)
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To: Sopater

It’d be interesting to know how much of this is sheer speculation. 99%? 100%?

The nice thing about theorizing like this is that you will never be disproven in your own lifetime.


16 posted on 04/24/2007 1:49:13 PM PDT by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
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To: Sopater

Now maybe we’ll find out where all those UFO’s park. ;)


17 posted on 04/24/2007 1:49:22 PM PDT by Chena (I want a President who will also be tough against liberalism. HONK!!!)
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To: cripplecreek
Calling it “habitable” is an awfully optimistic claim.

I agree. I think that they only call it "habitable" because of the temperature. That is ignoring a whole host of things that could render it "inhabitable".
18 posted on 04/24/2007 1:49:45 PM PDT by Sopater (All of the evidence supports the truth!)
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To: Sopater

If it’s not M-Class, it’s not squat!


19 posted on 04/24/2007 1:50:21 PM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution ? 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Sopater
Not to be Americentric or anything, but I'd like to read NASA's take on this group's findings.

Seems like there's more speculation than science.

20 posted on 04/24/2007 1:53:45 PM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: HeadOn
So you weigh 296 lb?
21 posted on 04/24/2007 1:53:55 PM PDT by fireforeffect (A kind word and a 2x4, gets you more than just a kind word.)
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To: Sopater

Took you guys long enough...

22 posted on 04/24/2007 1:54:58 PM PDT by NCjim (The more I use Windows, the more I love UNIX)
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To: BibChr
It’d be interesting to know how much of this is sheer speculation. 99%? 100%?

with words such as,could, should, likely, most probably, the speculation is extremely high.

23 posted on 04/24/2007 1:55:33 PM PDT by Vinnie (You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Jihads You)
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To: Spktyr

No send Al in and Yugo now!


24 posted on 04/24/2007 1:55:59 PM PDT by colonialhk (Power and Money,the new mantra of the left!)
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To: BibChr
In terms of probability, very little of it.....probably only the liquid water part...and to bring up the word "habitable" is a little goofy, but that's probably the author.

But even that isn't far-fetched.

25 posted on 04/24/2007 1:59:02 PM PDT by Psycho_Bunny
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To: Sopater
"super-Earth"

Tell those Euro-weenies that Americans already have high-resolution photographs of the surface of SuperEarth:


26 posted on 04/24/2007 2:00:25 PM PDT by Yossarian (Everyday, somewhere on the globe, somebody is pushing the frontier of stupidity...)
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To: Waverunner
I suggest we immediately send Al Gore on a space shuttle to investigate.


27 posted on 04/24/2007 2:01:44 PM PDT by Donald Rumsfeld Fan ((NY Times: "Fake but Accurate"))
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To: Dreagon
You know ... I was just thinking what that would look like. Assuming a narrow “beam” of Xrays at very high intensity.... steam explosions in the oceans? melting rock? plant and animal just falling over and then burning?

Could be really weird.

28 posted on 04/24/2007 2:04:38 PM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: BibChr
It’d be interesting to know how much of this is sheer speculation. 99%? 100%?

Dan, I'd give you credit for either answer. On the Umbagi Scale of Speculatory Pseudoscience Reporting, even a single unquoted exclamation point earns a 99, but the frank admission, in the last paragraph, of wearing red dwarf-colored glasses should earn that last bonus point...

29 posted on 04/24/2007 2:05:20 PM PDT by umbagi
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To: Sopater
this is

30 posted on 04/24/2007 2:05:36 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Sopater

A day or two ago there was the “Kryptonite” story. Then today the “habitable” planet story.
It was not Kryptonite. It is not known if the planet is habitable.
This is why I totally mistrust all news stories in the media that have to do with science. I figure that the media sensationalizes the story so much that there is little truth left. They will do anything to get a mind-numbed public to look at the headline or read the story.

A public that has no idea of how to think critically gobbles up the nonsense.


31 posted on 04/24/2007 2:06:34 PM PDT by Leftism is Mentally Deranged
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To: Chicos_Bail_Bonds

SUV sales are definitely up in Gliese 581


32 posted on 04/24/2007 2:07:11 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Sopater

Envirofreekos can leave now!!


33 posted on 04/24/2007 2:08:21 PM PDT by HardStarboard (The Democrats are more afraid of American Victory than Defeat!)
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To: Sopater

Envirofreekos can leave now!!


34 posted on 04/24/2007 2:08:29 PM PDT by HardStarboard (The Democrats are more afraid of American Victory than Defeat!)
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To: Sopater

A red sun - a 13 day year -
Are tourist resort developers working on that warp drive yet?


35 posted on 04/24/2007 2:10:08 PM PDT by R. Scott (Humanity i love you because when you're hard up you pawn your Intelligence to buy a drink)
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To: Sopater

Well dang! This is a cool story.


36 posted on 04/24/2007 2:10:16 PM PDT by devane617 (Let's take back our country -- get a job in the MSM, or education system. We need you.)
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To: cripplecreek

I thought it would have to have a “van allen belt” to magnetically shield it from solar winds (like earth and Jupiter)


37 posted on 04/24/2007 2:10:25 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: Sopater

This discovery could be a boom for the Sci-fi Channel.


38 posted on 04/24/2007 2:16:23 PM PDT by o_zarkman44 (No Bull in 08!)
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To: BibChr
"It?d be interesting to know how much of this is sheer speculation. 99%? 100%?"

I'd say 100%.

?Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth s radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky like our Earth or covered with oceans,? he said."

Is these the same "scientists" using the same computer models that predict Global Warming?

Yep! Sure looks like it!
39 posted on 04/24/2007 2:16:27 PM PDT by RedMonqey ( The truth is never PC)
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To: Neville72

Presidential elections every 52 days!


40 posted on 04/24/2007 2:18:13 PM PDT by Diggity
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To: Sopater

Are they selling any beach front lots yet? Lemme call my real estate agent.


41 posted on 04/24/2007 2:21:47 PM PDT by navyblue (<u>)
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To: Dreagon

They are much cooler and have much longer life spans.

John

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf


42 posted on 04/24/2007 2:23:00 PM PDT by Diggity
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To: Dreagon

They are much cooler and have much longer life spans.

John

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_dwarf


43 posted on 04/24/2007 2:23:11 PM PDT by Diggity
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To: Neville72

Hey!! I’m not giving up my 4 weeks of vacation a year!!!


44 posted on 04/24/2007 2:23:53 PM PDT by zavvone
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To: dead

Our governemnt has been lying for decades about UFO’s. You can’t trust anything NASA says.

John


45 posted on 04/24/2007 2:25:29 PM PDT by Diggity
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To: Neville72

I’m not sure if I could handle the seasons changing like every three days!


46 posted on 04/24/2007 2:28:28 PM PDT by jpl
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To: HeadOn
"I don’t know about “habitable”, though. I’d weigh 1000 lbs! "

Then you must weight 450lbs here. LOL! A 200lb person would weight 444lbs on that planet, so the planet's not habitable. The story's poorly written, but the weight factor is 5/1.52=2.2.

47 posted on 04/24/2007 2:30:19 PM PDT by spunkets ("Freedom is about authority", Rudy Giuliani, gun grabber)
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To: Sopater

Does it have tides, I wonder.


48 posted on 04/24/2007 2:32:08 PM PDT by Sam Cree (absolute reality)
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To: Sopater
models predict that the planet should be either rocky – like our Earth – or covered with oceans,” he said.

The last time I looked, the Earth was rocky AND covered with oceans. Why do they think it must be one or the other, but not both?

49 posted on 04/24/2007 2:32:37 PM PDT by lafroste (gravity is not a force. See my profile to read my novel absolutely free (I know, beyond shameless))
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To: Sopater
which has a mass about five times that of the Earth and orbits a red dwarf

5 Gs is a lot. 2 Gs is probably beyond habitation specs.

50 posted on 04/24/2007 2:33:34 PM PDT by lepton ("It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift)
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