The Super Earths
01- K-11
02- Migrating Worlds
03- Gliese 581
04- Goldilocks
05- 51 Pegasi
06- Doppler Effect
07- Rhythmic Shift
08- Eccentric Giants
09- Transitters
10- Mu Arae
11- Intermediate World
12- Worlds Observed
13- Extra Solar Earths
14- Migrant Worlds
15- Accretion
16- Core Accretion
17- Disk Erosion
18- Planetary Embryos
19- The Protected Zone
20- Ecosphere
21- Ecosphere II
22- Beta Pictoris
23- Vanquishing Starlight
24- Red Edge / Earth Shine
25- Distant Continents
26- The Age of Stars
   

03 - Gliese 581

 

 

In April 2007, astronomers announced the discovery of the most Earth-like planet so far found outside our Solar System. This planet is not much bigger than the Earth. It orbits the faint star Gliese 581, which is 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra. The mean temperature of this ‘'super-Earth' is between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, which means that any water there could exist in liquid form.

Its radius is estimated at only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet could be either rocky, or covered with oceans. It will become the prime target for telescopes in space that can discern the tell-tale light signs of biological processes. The orbiting observatories would look for trace atmospheric gases like methane, or signs of chlorophyll, essential to plant life on Earth. See: ‘'Red Edge / Earth Shine'.

 
  Alan Lambert 2011