Agriculture
Protecting Cows—and People—from a Deadly Disease
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Fast-flying fungal spores
Amphibians
Toads
Frogs and Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Animals
Assembling the Tree of Life
Professor Ant
Crocodile Hearts
Behavior
GSAT Mathematics Quiz, Teaching Math, teaching anxiety
Between a rock and a wet place
Storing Memories before Bedtime
Birds
Doves
Flamingos
Ospreys
Chemistry and Materials
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
Watching out for vultures
Bandages that could bite back
Computers
Look into My Eyes
Troubles with Hubble
Small but WISE
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Meet the new dinos
Mini T. rex
Did Dinosaurs Do Handstands?
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
Quick Quake Alerts
Earth's Poles in Peril
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Environment
Groundwater and the Water Cycle
What is groundwater
A Stormy History
Finding the Past
A Human Migration Fueled by Dung?
Salt and Early Civilization
The Taming of the Cat
Fish
Cleaning Up Fish Farms
Electric Ray
Manta Rays
Food and Nutrition
Making good, brown fat
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Packing Fat
GSAT English Rules
Subject and Verb Agreement
Order of Adjectives
Pronouns
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
GSAT Mathematics
Deep-space dancers
How a Venus Flytrap Snaps Shut
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
Human Body
Football Scrapes and Nasty Infections
Opening a Channel for Tasting Salt
Dreaming makes perfect
Invertebrates
Ants
Lobsters
Mussels
Mammals
Golden Retrievers
African Zebra
Dolphins
Parents
The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Thinner Air, Less Splatter
Plants
The algae invasion
A Change in Leaf Color
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Reptiles
Alligators
Asp
Reptiles
Space and Astronomy
Asteroid Lost and Found
An Icy Blob of Fluff
Pluto's New Moons
Technology and Engineering
Crime Lab
Bionic Bacteria
A Micro-Dose of Your Own Medicine
The Parts of Speech
What is a Verb?
Problems with Prepositions
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Transportation
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Troubles with Hubble
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
The solar system's biggest junkyard
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
Add your Article

An Earthlike Planet

Astronomers don’t know whether life exists on other planets. But if it does, it’s most likely to be found on a planet that has liquid water. Water, after all, is essential to life on Earth.

Now, astronomers have discovered a distant planet that could have water. That, in turn, raises the possibility of extraterrestrial life.

The planet isn’t in our solar system, so it’s called an extrasolar planet. It orbits a star called Gliese 581, which is about 116 trillion miles from Earth.

Astronomers have found other extrasolar planets, but none seems habitable. Most are giant balls of gas. Many are so close to their fiery stars that water on them would boil away; others are so distant that water would freeze.

The new extrasolar planet is too small for telescopes to take a picture of it. But astronomers have figured out that, like Earth, it has a solid surface. Equally important is its temperature. It’s located in what astronomers call the “Goldilocks Zone”—a distance from its star that makes the planet neither too hot nor too cold, but just right for water to exist as a liquid.

Because they couldn’t see the planet, astronomers led by Stephane Udry of the Geneva Observatory, in Switzerland, looked to the star for clues. They studied Gliese 581 to see whether it was “wobbling.” The weak gravitational pull of a planet orbiting a star can cause the star to move back and forth.

Using an instrument called a spectrograph, Udry’s team measured the wobble of Gliese 581 by recording the pattern of changes in its light.

The astronomers’ measurements revealed a lot about the new planet. For example, it’s about five times as heavy as Earth, and it orbits its star every 13 days.

It’s also closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. But Gliese 581 is a red dwarf, which is a kind of star that’s cooler than our sun. So, the temperature on the planet is probably about the same as temperatures are on Earth.—J.L. Pegg

An Earthlike Planet
An Earthlike Planet








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™