A habitable super-Earth? Fabled planet might actually exist after all

March 10, 2015 2:29 AM

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A habitable super-Earth? Fabled planet might actually exist after all

In 2009, astronomers identified a super-Earth exoplanet orbiting in the habitable zone of its parent star. This planet, GJ 581d, was detected with a spectrometer that measured the slight fluctuations in the parent star’s wavelength due to the gravitational tug of the planet. However, in 2014, a different study cast doubt upon the identification of GJ 581d, contending that the ‘planet’ was in fact noise in the collected data generated by starspots.

Now, a new study led by Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escudé of Queen Mary University of London has challenged the conclusions of the 2014 paper. According to a Queen Mary statement, the team has found that the statistical method used by the 2014 study to refute the existence of GJ 581d is not appropriate for...

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