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Gliese 581g
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Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.
Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star's "Goldilocks zone" - a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.
Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.

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GJ 581 planetary system
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Title: The HARPS search for southern extra-solar planets XVIII. An Earth-mass planet in the GJ 581 planetary system
Authors: M. Mayor, X. Bonfils, T. Forveille, X. Delfosse, S. Udry, J.-L. Bertaux, H. Beust, F. Bouchy, C. Lovis, F. Pepe, C. Perrier, D. Queloz, N. C. Santos

The GJ 581 planetary system was already known to harbour three planets, including two super-Earths planets which straddle its habitable zone. We report here the detection of an additional planet -- GJ 581e -- with a minimum mass of 1.9 M_earth. With a period of 3.15 days, it is the innermost planet of the system and has a ~5% transit probability. We also correct our previous confusion of the orbital period of GJ 581d (the outermost planet) with a one-year alias, thanks to an extended time span and many more measurements. The revised period is 66.8 days, and locates the semi-major axis inside the habitable zone of the low mass star. The dynamical stability of the 4-planet system imposes an upper bound on the orbital plane inclination. The planets cannot be more massive than approximately 1.6 times their minimum mass.

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Gliese 581 system
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A cross-European team of astronomers has discovered the lightest exoplanet (a planet beyond the Solar System) ever by using the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) HARPS spectrograph - what many consider as being the best 'low mass-exoplanet hunter' in the world - attached to the 3.6-metre ESO telescope in Chile. Located in the Gliese 581 system, the exoplanet 'e' is around twice the mass of Earth. During the four-year study, the scientists also refined the orbit of the planet Gliese 581 d (first discovered in 2007), and placed it within the habitable zone.

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RE: Gl581 planet
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Nothing is higher on astronomers' wish lists than to find and study Earth-like planets.
These are not entities hiding out in deep space but those that orbit stars relatively close to our own, only hundreds of light years away in the solar neighbourhood, explains the University of Melbourne's Sally Langford.
Hence the excitement last week over the discovery by Geneva University researchers of a planet about twice the size of Earth.

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The Corot orbiting space telescope has discovered the smallest terrestrial planet ever detected outside the Solar System.
The planet, which is less than twice the size of Earth, was identified using image sensors developed in the UK by e2v.

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Scientists at Harvards Centre for Astrophysics are celebrating the discovery of the smallest known exoplanet - a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun - announced Tuesday by European astronomers.
The new planet, Gliese 581 e, is 1.9 times the size of Earth and 80 times smaller than the first exoplanet, which was discovered in 1995. The solar system where the planet was found is 20.5 light years away and can be found in the constellation Libra.

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Gliese 581 planetary system
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After more than four years of observations using the most successful low-mass-exoplanet hunter in the world, the HARPS spectrograph attached to the 3.6-metre ESO telescope at La Silla, Chile, astronomers discovered the lightest exoplanet found so far. The planet, e, in the famous system Gliese 581, is only about twice the mass of our Earth. The Gliese 581 planetary system now has four known planets, with masses of about 1.9 (planet e), 16 (planet b), 5 (planet c), and 7 Earth-masses (planet d). The planet furthest out, Gliese 581 d, orbits its host star in 66.8 days, while Gliese 581 e completes its orbit in 3.15 days.


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En la caza de planetas alrededor de estrellas que no sean el Sol, una de las especialidades de la astronomía más activa de los últimos años, la consigna es encontrar algún mundo parecido a la Tierra, al menos por su masa. Hay que tener en cuenta que los casi 350 de estos cuerpos descubiertos en órbita de otros astros hasta ahora son todos más masivos, la mayoría mucho más. También lo es el último planeta extrasolar anunciado, ayer mismo, pero éste ya se acerca a los parámetros del nuestro. Se llama Gliese 581 e, tiene una masa de 1,9 veces la terrestre, y es el más ligero que se ha descubierto.

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Planet Gliese 581 e orbits its host star located only 20.5 light-years away in the constellation Libra (the Scales)

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