New planet discovered in 2010 lies in Goldilocks zone for life

Thursday, January 24th, 2013 By

new planet discovered 2010 around gliese 581

A new planet was discovered in 2010 orbiting the star Gliese 581 at a distance called the Goldilocks zone, where conditions are just right to support life. Image: CC richardmasoner/Flickr

A new planet, or exoplanet, has been discovered in 2010 that may support life. For 11 years, planet hunters have been monitoring a red dwarf star called Gliese 581 about 20 light years away suspected of harboring an Earthlike planet. Wednesday they announced the discovery of Gliese 581g, a rocky planet orbiting its star in the “Goldilocks zone,” a distance considered “just right” for water to exist for the development of organic life.

Welcome to the Goldilocks zone

The new planet discovered in 2010, Gliese 581g, was announced by Steven S. Vogt of the University of California, Santa Cruz and R. Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. As reported in the New York Times, Gliese (GLEE-za) 581g orbits Gliese 581, a dim red star, once every 37 days at a distance of about 14 million miles. Scientists say that is the sweet spot of the Goldilocks zone, where heat from the star is not too hot, not too cold, for water to exist in liquid form on the surface. When asked about life on Gliese 581g, Vogt said the chances “are almost 100 percent.”

Why Gliese 581g may support life

Gliese 581g is one of six known planets orbiting Gliese 581, a star about one-third the size and one-hundredth the brightness of the sun. Scientific Americans reports that two of the Gliese 581 planets bracket the Goldilocks zone. Gliese 581g, about three times the mass of Earth, orbits between those. It is the first Goldilocks exoplanet to be discovered. But it’s not exactly Earthlike. The planet hunters suspect Gliese 581g is “tidally locked,” which means only one side faces its star. Surface temperatures are expected to range from 31 below zero at night to 158 degrees in the day. Somewhere in between permanent daylight and permanent night, which Vogt called “eco-longitudes,” some form of life could become established.

How new planets are discovered in 2010

Gliese 581g was discovered using the radial-velocity, or “wobble,” technique. As explained in the Los Angeles Times, the wobble technique detects planets by measuring a barely discernible gravitational tug they give their star during orbit. The planet hunters also made precise brightness measurements, confirming that the specific wobbles in Gliese 581 were triggered by Gliese 581g, not by any activity within the star itself.

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This post has 11 comments

  1. Genius says:

    i say there is no god nor other life i say we are all in some type of massive study from a bigger world were just all in like some Generated super computer stuck in a world like the sims

  2. asia says:

    also u arent as the space people at nasa last time i checked all of u so like i said God should not b mentioned in this conversation and i know ur gonna say u weren’t in this conversation little girl

  3. asia says:

    let me get this straight people there how old and how long have these nasa people been studing space …………….. a long time if u ask me look guys i'm seriously only 10 years old but i say u people should not bring gods name into a conversation about space ok its not that hard

  4. courtney says:

    wow lets go there.lets go there now we must ditch earth

  5. What tha? says:

    Who said that God only made us and no other life. The Bible even asks the question "What is man that thou art so mindful of him?" Suggesting that he has the ability to create other living things anytime and anywhere in his created universe. Perhaps he did not mention them to us for a reason. There is the real kanundrum. Will we like Adam and Eve for the sake of "Knowledge" bring more disaster to ourselves?

  6. Ayyyy says:

    plzzzzz, if this was real then that means that there really is no God since He only made us and no other life.

    • Trish says:

      wow your a joke how do you figure there is a god ffor one when if he everything and everyone around us and u dont even kno what created him. 2) if there is a god than he didnt just create us and this planet he created everything around us maybe u should do some more studying im atheist but i still have read the bible and learned alot about him and tried giving it a chance but not everyone is going to blieve and one thing i do know is u need to read some more apparently….

    • Person. says:

      What are you, stupid? I'm not religious, but God created the UNIVERSE. Therefore meaning, he could have created other life, if he exists.

    • James says:

      God isn't necessarily the "all mighty creator" chistianity or any of our known religions that seem to promise afterlife in exchange for for monetary compensation and 100% loyalty without question. The real answer may be totally to the contrary. =) You guys who want to thrash someone for admitting confusion on such a subject pity pity.

  7. joker says:

    now i know that we are not alone

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