Tuesday, April 21, 2009

First Past The Goldilocks Test?

The lightest exoplanet yet has been discovered around the red dwarf star Gliese 581 - and even better, refined measurements suggest that the orbit of one of its companions, Gliese 581 d, is within the habitable zone. Although, at around the size of Neptune, Gliese 581 d is too large to be a rocky planet like Earth, it may well be an ice giant that wandered inwards, and could be covered with a deep ocean - 'the first serious "water world" candidate.' What days!

1 Comments:

Blogger PeteY said...

This is a great system, but I'm even more excited by the Kepler mission, which will detect (lots of) transiting exoplanets. They're more studiable, as spectroscopy can conceivably be brought to bear on atmospheres, and I'd expect the first results, for hot planets, this year. First light was recently announced. Drool.

April 22, 2009 2:11 AM  

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