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Exoplanet Gliese 581g tops list of potentially habitable worlds

Located 20 light years away and discovered in 2010, the exoplanet Gliese 581g is considered the best candidate for having an Earthlike environment.

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Current potential habitable worlds

The habitable exoplanets catalog.PHL@UPR Arecibo

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Exoplanet Gliese 581g is back, “officially” ranking #1 on a list of potentially habitable worlds outside of our solar system thanks to new research from the team that originally announced its discovery in 2010. Orbiting a star 20 light-years away, the super-Earth is now listed alongside other exoplanets Gliese 667Cc, Kepler-22b, HD85512 and Gliese 581d in the University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo’s Habitable Exoplanets Catalog as good places to look for Earthlike environments… and thus the possibility of life.

First announced in September 2010 by a team led by Steven S. Vogt of UC Santa Cruz, the presence of Gliese 581g was immediately challenged by other astronomers whose data didn’t support its existence. Vogt’s team conducted further analysis of the Gliese system in which it appeared that the orbits of the planets were circular, rather than elliptical, and it was in this type of scenario that a strong signal for Gliese 581g once again appeared.

Read: Could Chance For Life on Gliese 581g Actually Be “100%”?

“This signal has a False Alarm Probability of < 4% and is consistent with a planet of minimum mass 2.2M [Earth masses], orbiting squarely in the star’s Habitable Zone at 0.13 AU, where liquid water on planetary surfaces is a distinct possibility” said Vogt.

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