The thought of another planet in space that we may actually have the chance to inhabit in the future is quite a headline to come across. This week, astronomers revealed that a planet has been discovered, which is may hold the potential to sustain life. Although the planet is situated outside of our solar system, the news is promising enough to spread. The planet is thought to possess the same type of temperature fluctuations as Earth, which may lead to another destination for life to flourish in the future.
As for the size, the planet seems to be just right, as water may also cover some parts of the planet, which is a great sign. Other parts of the solar system may showcase water here and there, but not in the same liquid form as this discovery. When it comes to locating the planet, it may seem like a million miles away, but actually, you would have to travel the galaxy 120 trillion miles to reach this new planet. Additional characteristics regarding the planet involve the star that closely orbits the mass. It is known as a “red dwarf” and when compared to the sun, it is much smaller in size. It is also dimmer and cooler than the sun.
Before you jump up for joy and embrace this new planet as the answer to all of our ecological woes, you should know that a lot is still mysterious about this find. Once scientists are able to gather more important details, they may assess the living space as inhospitable to humans. The significance of this new planet is still enough to give one hope, as it is the first discovery that has been made outside of the solar system that we know of that is able to meet certain standards that humans require.
The credit of discovering the new planet is associated with the use of the
European Southern Observatory’s telescope, which calls La Silla, Chile its home. This rather unique instrument is able to separate light in such a way that it locates “wobbles” of wavelengths in a different manner. It is through the sight of these wobbles that other worlds become more in view. The existence of other landmasses becomes clearer to identify.
The red dwarf star in question is named Gliese 581, where scientists noted common characteristics, such as low energy and small size. Close to 80% of all stars located close to the Earth are red dwarfs. A dim, red light is given off by the dwarfs that last longer than the stars we know, such as the sun. It was only of recent that astronomers began to acknowledge these stars as possible places that life may thrive. Finding the new planet was quite an achievement, and was given the name 581 c. Many studies will follow this discovery.