Scientists Argue in Favor of the Existence of Gliese 581d, a Recently Spotted Earth-Like Planet

March 10, 2015 6:17 PM

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Experts argue that there might be an Earth-like planet relatively close to us (20 light-years away). GJ 581d, a planet first observed in 2009 in orbit around a Libra galaxy red dwarf called Gliese 581, became a subject for controversy last year, when Paul Robertson and his team of researchers challenged the assumption that there is actually a planet on that particular orbit, supporting the hypothesis that the data we receive about it is actually noise provoked by star-spots. Now, however, two scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University of Hertfordshire have reexamined the available data and reassessed the theory according to which this is indeed an earth-like planet. According to Guillem Anglada Escude and Mikko Tuomi, the two authors of the new study published last Friday in Science, the method employed by Robertson’s team (analysis of statistical significance using residual data statistics) led to incorrect conclusions, because noise cannot explain away the model’s increased complexity.

Supposing that the new article is in the right, GJ 581 d appears to be a habitable planet, situated in its star’s “Goldilocks zone” (the space interval around a star where solid planets with normal mass and atmospheric pressure can hold liquid water on the surface). It belongs to a category of celes...

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