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Old 05-04-2007, 04:43 PM   #1
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Gliese 581 c

First "habitable" planet outside our solar system discovered less tan two weeks ago-

(from wikipedia)

Gliese 581 c: is a "super-earth" extrasolar planet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581.[3] It appears to be in the hypothetical habitable zone surrounding the star, where surface temperatures might maintain liquid water[3][4] and therefore be suitable for life as we know it. The planet is astronomically close, at 20.5 light years (194 trillion km or 120 trillion miles) from Earth in the direction of the constellation of Libra.[2] Its star is identified as Gliese 581 by its number in the Gliese Catalogue of Nearby Stars; with respect to Earth it is the 87th closest star system.[5]

The discovery of the planet by the team of Stéphane Udry of the Geneva Observatory in Switzerland was announced on April 24, 2007. The team used the HARPS instrument (an echelle spectrograph) on the European Southern Observatory 3.6 m Telescope in La Silla, Chile. The team employed the radial velocity technique. The team now intends to use the Canadian-built MOST space telescope to conduct follow-up studies of the planet if it is a transiting planet.

The team has released a paper dated April 27, 2007 which will be published in an edition of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.[6] In the paper they also announce the discovery of another planet in the system, Gliese 581 d, with a minimum mass of 7.7 Earth masses and a semi-major axis of 0.25 astronomical units.

Gliese 581 c is the first extrasolar planet believed to have a surface temperature similar to that of Earth. It is the smallest extrasolar planet around a main sequence star discovered to date.[3]

Gliese 581 c presents several challenges for study or exploration. It has not been directly observed, and the development of equipment sensitive enough to look for signs of life will take several years.[18] However, according to the research-team member Xavier Delfosse:
"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 extraterrestrial life. On the treasure map of the universe, one would be tempted to mark this planet with an X.[18][7]”

Several astronomers have suggested that Gliese 581 c's earthlike properties and its relative proximity (20.5 light-years away) would make it a potential target for any future interstellar probe project.

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Old 05-04-2007, 04:54 PM   #2
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I read this a few days ago So cool.

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Old 05-04-2007, 05:02 PM   #3
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Haha, yeah... I heard it awhile ago and sort of forgot about it until some speculation on the radio this morning that we may try to send out a probe in the next 50 to 100 years. hmm.
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Old 05-04-2007, 05:13 PM   #4
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The numbers game gets interesting - so much potential geology; maybe a probe will be a potential in my time
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