New Planet Discovered Orbiting Gliese 876
Update: (06/17/05 11:30 AM CDT) added to bottom of this post.|
This is cool:
Arlington, Va.– Taking a major step forward in the search for Earth-like planets beyond our own solar system, a team of astronomers has announced the discovery of the smallest extrasolar planet yet detected. About seven-and-a-half times as massive as Earth, with about twice the radius, it may be the first rocky planet ever found orbiting a normal star not much different from our Sun. [...]I am somewhat puzzled, though:
Two planets in our own solar system are more closely related to Earth; Mars and Venus. I don't think a star as large as this new one, orbiting as close to it's star as it does, can be properly characterized as 'Earth-like' Also, Gliese 876 is an M-Dwarf type of star, unlike our own G2 sun. More star information than you probably want to know here..
Still, nit-picking aside, this is cool. Our abilities to reach out in scientific terms keep growing.
Update: It seem that there is reevaluation happening about the ability of planets of this type to harbor life. Over at the Speculist some discussion is happening:
[...] But now the SETI folks are reevaluating the possibility of habitable planets around small stars. [...]Tidal lock, planetary systems, and defining of habitable zones... it's all there. Go read it.
Tagged as Science, Space, Sun, Star, Solar System, Planet, Earth, Mars, Venus, Gliese 876 , SETI