|New 'Earth-Like' Planet found in space
Posted: 18:00 April 25, 2007
Astronomers have found what they beleive to be the most Earth-like planet outside the Solar System. This new world appears to have running water on its surface.
The new planet is not much bigger than the Earth
Photo source: news.bbc.co.uk
It is 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra and orbits the faint star Gliese 581.
Scientists in Chile made the discovery using the Eso 3.6m Telescope.
The scientists believe that the moderate temperatures on the planet could indicate that water could exists as liquid and that this increases the likelyhood of life spawning.
The ESO 3.6m Telescope was commissioned in 1977, and completely upgraded in 1999. It has a horseshoe/fork mounting, and an interchangeable top unit allowing the secondary mirror to be changed from a f/8 to a f/35 Cassegrain focus. Source: ls.eso.org.
"We have estimated that the mean temperature of this 'super-Earth' lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid," explained Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, lead author of the scientific paper reporting the result.
"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."
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