Artist Lynette Cook's conception shows the inner four planets of the Gliese 581 system
Generation Y might still be fumbling to fix their textbooks after NASA announced that Pluto was no longer a planet, but stop the presses once again, because scientists are saying they may have finally discovered a planet similar in structure to Earth!
Astronomer Nader Haghighipour from the University of Hawaii at Manoa has announced with his team that the potential new planet was found by a telescope at the W. M. Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea.
The planet supposedly has water on the surface, is in the Libra constellation 20 light years away and orbits the small star, Gliese 581. The rocky planet has strong gravity and is thought to be 30 percent bigger than Earth. Five other planets orbit Gliese 581 as well. The scientists on Haghighipour’s team have 238 unique observation of Gliese 581 and have been monitoring the star for 11 years.
“By determining the orbit of this planet, we can deduce that its surface temperature is similar to that of Earth. This means that at least some of any water on the surface of the planet and in its atmosphere will be in liquid form rather than ice or vapor. The discovery of liquid water in space is an important step in the search for extraterrestrial life,” said Haghighipour.
Via University of Hawaii