Wednesday, 8 December 2010
2nd Earth discovered in another solar system!
Scientists have discovered the first Earth-like planet outside our solar system. “We estimate the average temperature of this super-Earth to 0 to 40 degrees Celsius, so that there would be liquid water,” said co-discoverer of Stéphane Udry of the Geneva Observatory.
The unnamed planet is about five times as large as Earth and has about five times as much mass as the European Southern Observatory announced on Tuesday in Garching near Munich.”According to models of this planet should be either rocky like the Earth – or covered with oceans,” Udry added. Is evidence of water or even life it from there but not yet.
The host star of the “super-Earth” is the red dwarf Gliese 581, a 20 light-years away in the constellation Libra Mini sun. The year takes on the newly discovered planet, only 13 days – it orbits its star about 14 times denser than Earth’s sun. Nevertheless, there are moderate temperatures, according to calculations by astronomers. Gliese 581 emits at least 50 times weaker than our day-star.
The orbit of the “super-Earth” is therefore the so-called habitable zone, which is defined as that region around a star where water at the surface of a planet is liquid. “Water is essential for life as we know it,” said Xavier Delfosse of Grenoble University in the research team. “Given its temperature and relative proximity, this planet will most probably be a very important target for future space flights on the search for extraterrestrial life.”
Gliese 581 is located in the cosmic neighborhood of our sun, it is among the 100 closest stars. However, even the light more than 20 years are needed for the approximately 200 trillion kilometers.
Another suspected dwarf planet in red
At the same red dwarf, the team had already discovered two years ago about one Neptune-sized planet orbiting the star much closer in just 5.4 days. He has about 15 times the mass of Earth.Now, astronomers have even found evidence of a third planet with eight Earth masses, which runs further out in about 84 days around the red dwarf.
A scientific description of the planetary system is in the journal “Astronomy & Astrophysics” appear. Since the discovery of the first extrasolar planets to twelve years, researchers have been more than 200 of these so-called exoplanets found. Most of them are giant gas planets of Jupiter’s caliber. The “super-Earth” of Gliese 581 is according to the researchers, the smallest exoplanet yet discovered. The astronomers were encountered with a precision instrument of the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope in La Silla, Chile on it. (Dpa)
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