A group of Swiss astronomers announced yesterday at the International Astronomical Union’s annual meeting in Turin, Italy, that they couldn’t detect the “goldilocks” exoplanet found by U.S. researchers a few weeks ago. That news of that planet, dubbed Gliese 581g, generated much excitement, since researchers said it was only three times the size of Earth, and it appeared to lie in the habitable zone where liquid water could exist on the surface.[Via Marginal Revolution]
It didn’t take long for some cold water to be thrown on the astronomical community and the space-loving public. Presenter Francesco Pepe and his colleagues claim that it will be years before the data is clear enough to see such a planet. (...)
Such small planets are very hard to find. Astronomers discover these planets by calculating how they interact with the star they orbit, making it wiggle ever so slightly. The American team that identified the planet a few weeks ago saw the wiggles when analyzing a combination of two sets of data.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 13:40