Agriculture
Treating peanut allergy bit by bit
Chicken Eggs as Drug Factories
Growing Healthier Tomato Plants
Amphibians
Toads
Poison Dart Frogs
Newts
Animals
Stunts for High-Diving Ants
Firefly Delight
Fishing for Giant Squid
Behavior
Island of Hope
The Other Side of the Zoo Fence
The Electric Brain
Birds
Rheas
Ibises
Kingfishers
Chemistry and Materials
Diamond Glow
Butterfly Wings and Waterproof Coats
Atomic Drive
Computers
Computers with Attitude
The hungry blob at the edge of the universe
Play for Science
Dinosaurs and Fossils
The bug that may have killed a dinosaur
Message in a dinosaur's teeth
Winged Insects May Go Way Back
E Learning Jamaica
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Earth
Easy Ways to Conserve Water
Earth's Poles in Peril
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Environment
Where rivers run uphill
Blooming Jellies
Power of the Wind
Finding the Past
Ancient Cave Behavior
Little People Cause Big Surprise
Untangling Human Origins
Fish
Carp
Electric Eel
Lungfish
Food and Nutrition
Chocolate Rules
Moving Good Fats from Fish to Mice
Making good, brown fat
GSAT English Rules
Who vs. Whom
Adjectives and Adverbs
Capitalization Rules
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
Preparing for the GSAT Exam
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
GSAT Mathematics
Monkeys Count
Math and our number sense: PassGSAT.com
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
Human Body
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
Speedy Gene Gives Runners a Boost
Tapeworms and Drug Delivery
Invertebrates
Millipedes
Wasps
Scorpions
Mammals
African Wildedbeest
A Grim Future for Some Killer Whales
Giant Panda
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
How children learn
Physics
The Particle Zoo
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
The Pressure of Scuba Diving
Plants
Surprise Visitor
Seeds of the Future
Fungus Hunt
Reptiles
Boa Constrictors
Snapping Turtles
Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Tossing Out a Black Hole Life Preserver
A Dead Star's Dusty Ring
An Icy Blob of Fluff
Technology and Engineering
Bionic Bacteria
Model Plane Flies the Atlantic
Beyond Bar Codes
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
What is a Noun
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Reach for the Sky
Middle school science adventures
How to Fly Like a Bat
Weather
Polar Ice Feels the Heat
The solar system's biggest junkyard
The Best Defense Is a Good Snow Fence
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™