Monday, May 30, 2011

GLIESE 581 G

For those who have been hiding under a rock the exoplanet, Gliese 581, was discovered by the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey.  Humanity has discovered 371 stars with one known planet and 53 stars with multiple planets.  The interesting thing about the Gliese system is that it has 6 planets orbiting its star and 2 of them could be in the habitable zone.  The habitable zone is the distance from a star in which a planet could have liquid water, and therefore life.  The planet that is most centered in this habitable zone is Gliese 581, also known as Zarmina, in honor of the researchers wife who first discover the planet.  Gliese 581 appears to be tidal locked which means that it doesn’t rotate like Earth does.  One side of the planet is always night and the other is always day, much like the moon.  See the bullets below for more info about the planet.  More information can also be found at space.com, NASA, and wikipedia.
  • 20.5 Light years away (120 million miles)
  • Orbits a low energy Red Dwarf called Gliese 581, which outputs about 1/3 of our sun’s power
  • Gliese 581g, if it rotates at all, turns only minimally. This means one side of the planet is always night, and cold (-25 degrees F) and the other side always hot (160 degrees F) , while the terminator, where the two sides meet, may be ideal for life forms of our type.
  • Gliese 581g is about 14 million miles from its star (Earth is 93 million miles from our sun)
  • Terrain is considered rocky
  • Gliese 581g orbits its sun every 37 days (Earth orbits its sun every 365 days)
  • Gliese 581g is 3-4x the mass of Earth, which could mean slightly higher gravity
  • Gliese 581g has a radius of 1.3 to 2x that of Earth’s

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