The Habitability of Gliese 581d

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The [Gliese 581][3] system has been making headlines recently for the most newly announced [planet][4] that may lie in the habitable zone. Hopes were somewhat dashed when we were reminded that the certainty level of its [discovery][5] was _only_ 3 sigma (95%, whereas most astronomical discoveries are at or above the 99% confidence level before major announcements), but the [Gliese][3] 581 system may yet have more surprises. When the second planet, Gliese 581d, was first discovered, it was placed outside of the expected habitable zone. But in 2009, reanalysis of the data refined the orbital parameters and moved [the planet][6] in, _just_ to the edge of the habitable zone. Several authors have suggested that, with sufficient greenhouse gasses, this may push Gliese 581d into the habitable zone. A new paper to be published in an upcoming issue of _[Astronomy][7] & [Astrophysics][8]_ simulates a wide range of conditions to explore just what characteristics would be required.

(…) Read the rest of [The Habitability of Gliese 581d][9] (564 words)

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(C) jvois for [Universe Today][10], 2010. | [Permalink][9] | [No comment][11] | Add to [del.icio.us][12] Post

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