Gliese 581 g - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gliese 581 g (play /ˈɡliːzə/), also Gl 581 g or GJ 581 g, is an unconfirmed extrasolar planet claimed to orbit the red dwarf star Gliese 581,[2] 22 light-years[3] from Earth in the constellation of Libra.[4] It is the sixth planet purportedly discovered in the Gliese 581 planetary system and the fourth in order of increasing distance from the star. The discovery was announced by the Lick-Carnegie Exoplanet Survey in late September 2010, after a decade of observation. However, the ESO/HARPS survey team was not able to confirm that the planet exists.[5][6]

Gliese 581 g has attracted attention because it is near the middle of the habitable zone of its parent star. That means it could sustain liquid water on its surface and could potentially host life similar to that on Earth. (The planet is expected to have temperatures around −37 to −12 °C, however). If it is a rocky planet, favorable atmospheric conditions could permit the presence of liquid water, a necessity for all known life, on its surface. With a mass 3.1 to 4.3 times Earth’s, Gliese 581 g is considered a super-Earth and is the planet closest in size to Earth known in a habitable zone. This makes it the most Earth-like Goldilocks planet found outside the Solar System and the exoplanet with the greatest recognized potential for harboring life.[7]

The supposed detection of Gliese 581 g after such a short period of searching and at such close proximity has led some astronomers to hypothesize that the proportion of stars with habitable planets may be greater than ten percent.[1]

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