Monday, July 23, 2012

Planet that may support human life ‘discovered’

Astronomers have claimed to have discovered a planet that may be capable of supporting human life.
The planet is 22 light years away and is formally known as Gliese 581g, an Australian daily has reported.

A study by astronomers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the Carnegie Institution of Washington shows that the planet is twice the size of earth.

‘Super Earth’
It is known as a ‘Super Earth’ due to its ability to hold on to its gassy atmosphere, which increases its chances of retaining liquid.
Lead researcher Professor Vogt of the University of California said he named it ‘Zarmina’s World’ after his wife, and the planet has “churchly weather.”
The scientists were not clear whether the liquid is frozen and stored under the surface or is flowing freely across the planet.

The researchers have so far been unable to determine what the surface of the planet is like, Professor Vogt was quoted as saying.

‘Goldilocks Zone’
The planet exists in a band of perpetual twilight near its orbiting star known as the ‘Goldilocks Zone,’ an area near earth that is not too hot or cold, but is just right for sustaining life.
This is not the first time Professor Vogt has claimed the existence of a habitable planet known as ‘HARPS’ (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet).

His findings back in 2010 sparked a fight between U.S. researchers and a rival team of Swiss astronomers.
The study will be published in European astrophysics journal, Astronomisch Naschrischten (AEST).

Source: The Hindu

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