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Did Astronomers Discover Earth 2??

By rob13     Apr 25, 2007 in Technology
Researchers announced Tuesday that a planet has been found outside our solar system that may be similar to Earth.
Astronomers said this planet, with "Earth-like temperatures, appears to be the right size planet they were looking to find. Researchers went on to say this planet might have water in liquid form. Finding liquid water on another planet is important because scientists believe that were this is liquid water-there is the possibility for life.
This galactic neighbor of ours is only 120 trillion miles away from own our Earth. This near-by, in galactic terms anyway, neighbor orbits a 'red-dwarf ' sun that is smaller, less-bright, and much cooler than our sun.
There is still a lot that astronomers do not know about this planet, and because of this, this planet could still be deemed as inhospitable once more data about this planet is received and analyzed. Researchers like to point out that Mars meets these habitability standards because Mars is similar in size to Earth, and Mars does have temperatures that would permit liquid water.
Michel Mayor, one of 11 European scientists on the team that found the planet, said the find of this planet is still important because unlike Mars this newly discovered planet was found outside our solar system.
This team of astronomers used the European Southern Observatory's telescope in La Silla, Chile, because this observatory has a special instrument that can split light in finding wobbles in different light wave lengths. Wobbles in light waves are important because these wobbles can reveal the existence of other worlds.
Astronomers found this planet by studying the light waves emitted from a red-dwarf star called Gliese 581, and this led astronomers to name the planet-planet 581. Astronomers believe this planet is about five times heavier than Earth.
There have been 220 other planets found outside our solar system, but these planets were deemed as inhospitable because they were either too hot or too cold. However, these astronomers got excited about planet 581 because their initial analyses indicate the average temperature may be somewhere between 32 and 104 degrees.
So, for now at least, planet 581 has the scientific world buzzing because this find could be the big stepping stone in the search for "life in the universe".
More about Planet, Discovered, Outside solar system
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