Not Too Hot, Not Too Cold - Have Scientists Finally Found The 'Goldilocks' Planet?

By Meera Dolasia on October 1, 2010

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It's not too hot, not too cold, not too large, not too small, not too far from its star, not too close . . . . . . In short, it is perfect, should we dare say it? To harbor life! At least that's the opinion of two smart astronomers - And many others seem to agree with them.

Discovered by Paul Butler from The Carnegie Institution of Washington and Steve Vogt from U.C. Santa Cruz, the Gliese 581G lies 20 light years or about 120 trillion miles away from Earth. It is about three and a half times the size of earth, slightly wider and seems to have both gravity and atmosphere.

However, there are stll many things that we don't know about the new planet. It is much closer to its star, Gliese 581 (no G!) - about 14 million miles away as opposed to the 93 million miles that lie between the Sun and our planet. But, the scientists believe that is not a problem, because the Gliese 581 is a dwarf star and hence, not as intense as our Sun.

Thanks to the shorter distance, the Gliese 581G takes only 37 days to orbit around the sun. However, unlike Earth, it doesn't rotate fully on its own axis, which means that half of the planet gets 24-hour sunlight and is probably very hot, while the other half, is always dark and freezing.

Also not known for sure, is if the Gliese 581G has any water or if the gas its  atmospthere is made up of, is capable of supporting life.

The Gliese 581G is the sixth planet that has been discovered revolving around the dwarf star Gliese 581 and, is not the first to have created this kind of excitement. Not too long ago, scientists believed that Gliese 581C was perfect to sustain life, only to later discover that is was too hot.

Will Gliese 581G finally be the Holy Grail that scientists have been searching for  many years? Who knows, but it is always fun to speculate and then imagine what kind of life lives on it. Of course, to the scientists, even a single-celled amoeba is evidence of life, but we are hoping it's a little more exciting than that!

sources: news.yahoo.com,csmonitor.com

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384 Comments
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  • Kat7Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm
    I. WANT. TO. GO. THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    • Kat7Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm
      That is so cool!!! That totally helped me with my homework.
      • GoldilocksSaturday, October 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm
        Wow! My planet! (Just Kidding) it's kind of cool that there is a planet like Earth
        • cheer capt.laurenSaturday, October 2, 2010 at 12:19 pm
          people on it how about live huh!
          • cheer capt.laurenSaturday, October 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm
            a new planet like earth wow
            • Alien 22Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 11:16 am
              I want to visit
              • space girlSaturday, October 2, 2010 at 10:21 am
                i want to go to space to see neptune
                • Alien 22Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 10:20 am
                  I know needs more detail
                  • kayla101Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 10:12 am
                    I know that this is for kids and all... and I'm only 11 and I like this topic but wish it could be longer and go into more detail. It's really interesting but didn't go into much detail on what the planet's like. It just stated that half the planet is burnig hot and the other side is freezing cold.
                    • Alien 22Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 9:22 am
                      Area 51!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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