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Extrasolar planet Gliese 581c

Extrasolar planet Gliese 581c

R650/0290

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Credit

MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Extrasolar planet Gliese 581c, artwork. This is the most Earth-like alien planet yet discovered. It is one of three orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581. Gliese 581c is just 1.5 times Earth's diameter and five times its mass, and it lies in the star's habitable zone. This is a region around a star where the surface temperature of a planet is suitable for liquid water. Gliese 581c is fourteen times closer than Earth is to the Sun, but the low heat output of the red dwarf makes its habitable zone much closer to it than the Sun's. Gliese 581 lies about 20.5 light years from Earth in the constellation Libra. The discovery was announced on 24th April 2007 by observers at the European Southern Observatory's 3.6 metre telescope at La Silla, Chile.

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