Friday, 1 October 2010

'Goldilocks planet just right for life'

An artist's impression of Gliese 581g and its parent star

Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.
Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star's "Goldilocks zone" - a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.

Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.

Their findings, made with the Keck telescope in Hawaii, appear in the Astrophysical Journal.

The researchers, from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, have been studying the movement of the planet's parent star, a red dwarf called Gliese 581, for 11 years.

Their observations have revealed a number of exoplanets spinning around the star.

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