Login |  Register




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:16 pm 
The Lord of Destruction
User avatar
Joined: Mon May 08, 2006 11:51 pm
Posts: 31626
Location: South of Heaven
Favorite Band: Pinkmaiden Rainsabbath Zeppepriest
Yahoo! News/AP wrote:
Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet
By Jennifer Quinn, Associated Press Writer


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.

Mayor's main planet-hunting competitor, Geoff Marcy of the University of California, Berkeley, praised the find of Gliese 581 e as "the most exciting discovery" so far of exoplanets — planets outside our solar system.

"This discovery is absolutely extraordinary," Marcy told The Associated Press by e-mail, calling the discoveries a significant step in the search for Earth-like planets.

While Gliese 581 e is too hot for life "it shows that nature makes such small planets, probably in large numbers," Marcy commented. "Surely the galaxy contains tens of billions of planets like the small, Earth-mass one announced here."

Nearly 350 planets have been found outside our solar system, but so far nearly every one of them was found to be extremely unlikely to harbor life.

Most were too close or too far from their sun, making them too hot or too cold for life. Others were too big and likely to be uninhabitable gas giants like Jupiter. Those that are too small are highly difficult to detect in the first place.

Both Gliese 581 d and Gliese 581 e are located in constellation Libra and orbit around Gliese 581.

Like other planets circling that star — scientists have discovered four so far — Gliese 581 e was found using the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile.

The telescope has a special instrument which splits light to find wobbles in different wavelengths. Those wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.

"It is great work and shows the potential of this detection method," said Lisa Kaltenegger, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

___
Associated Press Science Writer Seth Borenstein contributed to this report from Washington.


Source


Sorry, Bill... They still haven't found any new rings on Uranus. :wink:


:BB Steve

_________________
"I told you... that we could fly... 'Cause we all have wings... but some of us don't know why..."
~ Michael Hutchens (RIP)


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans..."
~ John Lennon (RIP)


"Don't get cute... Don't get funny now... It's later than you think..."
~ Greg Kihn


"As we celebrate mediocrity... all the boys upstairs wanna see...
How much you'll pay... for what you used to get for free..."

~ Tom Petty


Image

"I think you'd better ask yourself... before you criticize me...
Are you a victim of the System... or the Powers-That-Be?
If there was nothing to gain... would you do it for free?"

~ Sammy Hagar


"I was glad to come... I'll be sad to go... So while I'm here... I'll have me a real good time..."
~ Rod Stewart (The Faces)


"The earth can shake... The sky come down... The mountains all... fall to the ground...
But I will fear... none of these things... Shelter me, Lord... underneath your wings..."

~ Buddy Miller


"Rock hard... Ride free... All your life..."
~ Rob Halford


Profile  Offline
 
 Post subject: Re: Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:59 pm 
Heavy Metal Cyber-Sleuth
User avatar
Joined: Sun May 07, 2006 8:34 am
Posts: 40784
Location: Uranus
Favorite Band: The Electric Mayhem
Facebook: sucks royal ass!
Unfortunately my proctologist has. :shock:


:lol:

_________________
Milk, milk, lemonade,
round the back fudge is made.


Profile  Offline
 
 Post subject: Re: Scientists discover a nearly Earth-sized planet
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:13 am 
Heavy Metal Honey
User avatar
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 1:00 am
Posts: 5698
Location: sf bay area
Favorite Band: THIS is ur plan for catching spambots?
Cool info!


Profile  Offline
 

Display posts from previous:  Sort by  

Topic Top
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 3 posts ] 


Who is online

Rockers browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Panel

Top You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
Jump to:  
 cron
Back to top
Powered by RockHard, Citykitee, Walla and AlsWorms! © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and beyond! 80s Metal Server.
We need a lot of beer! Created by the man under the bed
[ Time : 0.097s | 14 Queries | GZIP : On ]