Gliese 581g – A Earth like planet discovered by Astronomers

Posted by on Sep 30, 2010 | 65 Comments

Astronomers have discovered a planet of similar size to Earth in orbit around a nearby star called Gliese 581g, which is located in prime real estate within the constellation Libra.

The discovery of the most Earth-like planet with about three times the Earth’s mass orbiting the nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581g has been announced by the astronomers. The planet lies in the star’s ‘Goldilocks zone’, the region where liquid water could exist on the planet’s surface. In cosmic terms, the new planet is virtually our next-door neighbor. It circles a dim red star, Gliese 581 that’s only 20 light-years away. It also appears to have an atmosphere, gravity like our own and could well be capable of life.

Gliese 581g

This new planet takes 37 days to orbit the star once, and orbits at a distance about 1/6 the distance of the Earth from the Sun. The researchers will report in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal that Gliese 581g contains only about 30% of the sun’s mass and shines with only about 1% of its brightness.

Professor Steven Vogt said, “Our findings offer a very compelling case for a potentially habitable planet.” He added, “The fact that we were able to detect this planet so quickly and so nearby tells us that planets like this must be really common.”

The Gliese 581g planet is tidally locked to the star, means that one side is always facing the star and basking in perpetual daylight, while the side facing away from the star is in perpetual darkness. The average surface temperature of the planet estimated by researchers is between -24 and 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-31 to -12 degrees Celsius). Real temperatures would vary from blazing hot on the side facing the star to freezing cold on the dark side. Prof Vogt said, “The surface gravity would be about the same or slightly higher than Earth’s, so that a person could easily walk upright on the planet,” “It may well be like Earth, where you could walk around comfortably and look out at the stars.”

There is no evidence that Gliese 581g holds oxygenated landscapes of green and blue that would support microbes, dinosaurs or some alien-looking pre-human, said by the Scientists. The conclusions result from 11 years of observations at the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, where old-fashioned telescopes and advanced math are leading the exoplanet search.

Steven Vogt of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) and Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington team led the discovery. UCSC associate research scientist Eugenio Rivera, Gregory Henry and Michael Williamson of Tennessee State University are other team members. Vog said, “The number of systems with potentially habitable planets is probably on the order of 10 or 20 percent, and when you multiply that by the hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, that’s a large number. There could be tens of billions of these systems in our galaxy.”

Video of New Planet: Another Earth discovered by scientists? from youtube:

Video of New Planet Found – Gliese 581 c – VOA Story from youtube:


  1. vivek says:

    Well, let’s see: it is 20 light years away, so if we can develop a ship that can equal the speed of light, or close to it, we can be there in only 20 years! Allowing another 20 years for the return trip, we can find out all about it in just…40 years…IF we can ever go the speed of light. Maybe we should just cut our population growth and take care of the planet we already have? Ya think?

  2. astitva says:

    Since it is a red zone planet it is probably inhabited by Glen Beck and Sarah Palin!!! That makes uninhabital by human beings!! George Bush would do well living there.

  3. bina says:

    All the money we spend on exploration and space travel could be spent on fixing some of the atrociites we inflict on Mother Earth. We need to clean up the mess in our own backyard, then go off and explore. Until we figure out how to break the speed of light or travel through worm whole we’re not going anywhere.

  4. nitesh says:

    Yes, but there is one problem. It will take, not a couple of weeks to fly there but generations. So, I have figured out how we can get there with 5 generations. So, hear me out. We build the biggest spaceship ever built, bigger than the ark of Noah. We stuff it with people, animals, plants, etc.

    We start the voyage to this planet. Our spaceship is stuffed with things to last five generations. When you put people in a confined space, they are bound to procreate; the same goes with animals and plants. As new children are born, they know nothing else but life in the spaceship and the objective to reach is this far away planet that is earth-like. As the ship captains and other pilots get older, and eventually die, their kids take over, and so on and so forth; procreation keeps doing its thing in the mean time as well until one day (earth days), bingo!! We are there!

    Except there is a problem when we get there!! If you wish for me to continue, just ask, and fan and fave and follow me. LOLs

  5. acharjee says:

    I think the planet should be renamed. Something memorable. Something simple.

    I know – “PLUTO”

    It wouldn’t be confusing, since there are currently no other planets with that name.

  6. guddi says:

    One very interesting calculation made by the team that found this planet concerns the likely number of such planets that may exist. In particular, the number of stars that have been examined using the precision radial velocity techniques used by this team is on the order of a few dozen, less than half of which might be expected to have favorable ecliptic inclinations and stellar radiance stability to allow these techniques to work. For a “Goldilocks” planet to have been found soon soon suggests that 10% or so of stars may harbor such planets, for a whopping 10 or 20 billion habitable worlds in our Milky Way Galaxy!

    Of course, lacking any feasible means of traveling beyond the reaches of our own Solar System, this would appear to be of theoretical interest only….

  7. om says:

    Unliveable for humans maybe, but as we know, life will adapt to its environment.

    As far as finding new planets to live on, I don’t think that is the purpose of the research these folks are doing. We will most likely destroy our own species long before we have the capability to travel that far.

  8. natali says:

    Except that one’s an Earth sized planet orbiting around the Sun not within the Solar System’s habitable zone, while the other’s an Earth sized planet orbiting within the habitable zone around a red dwarf star with an estimated 1.3% of the luminosity of our Sun’s.

    It’s not the absolute distance that counts, it’s the amount of energy that reaches the planet. 14 million miles from a star with 1.3% of the Sun’s luminosity gets the same solar energy as a planet orbiting 122 million miles from the Sun, or about half Mars’s orbital distance.

  9. natali says:

    However, the energy emitted by the star is not in the same wavelengths as emitted by our sun. There will be less visible light, and more infrared. However, the biggest problem for life would be the rotational tidal locking. I’m not convinced that life can develop and remain viable in a little strip along the terminator.

  10. Riviera says:

    Keep in mind that the star doesn’t put off the same energy that our sun does. We also don’t know what pressures are like on this new planet. Some speculate that pressure here on earth was once greater than it is now and life managed to form and thrive.

    As to why, I guess the real question is “Why Not?”

  11. woods says:

    Okay, here is why we are looking for other habitable planets. We have created a civilization on ONE planet with no insurance policy. If you want our species to survive we have to become a multi planet, multi system civilization. Plus it’s INTERESTING!!!!!!!!

  12. Beck says:

    well of course there are more planets like earth out there.. why should we be the only one? that would be arrogant to think that lol
    I really hope we will never be able to go there!!!
    we destroy everything we touch.. we call ourself intellegent but we are the most destructive beings on earth.. sure hope we wont be able to go anywhere else and do more damage!!

  13. shaniskinny says:

    I always like the way you write.i am shocked at this amazing discovery.i wish i would be the first man to go there.

    check out this review about the Earth like planet

  14. Spacegoat says:

    So we found another planet that Humans can destroy…Well Done.

  15. nice one we new planet that likes earth and i think people can live that like earth cause is it the only planet that have same gravity like earth and its have water and right mass tnz for discover this planet god’s love us

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