An artist's impression of Gliese 581g and its parent star
Source: BBC NewsBy Katia MoskvitchScience reporter, BBC News
Astronomers have detected an Earth-like exoplanet that may have just the right kind of conditions to support life.
Gliese 581g lies some 20 light-years away in its star's "Goldilocks zone" - a region surface temperatures would allow the presence of liquid water.
Scientists say that the newly found world could also potentially have an atmosphere.
Their findings, made with the Keck telescope in Hawaii, appear in the Astrophysical Journal.
The researchers, from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) and the Carnegie Institution of Washington, have been studying the movement of the planet's parent star, a red dwarf called Gliese 581, for 11 years.
Their observations have revealed a number of exoplanets spinning around the star.
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Space Shuttle Discovery rolled out to the launch pad for the final time tonight, with first motion out of the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) coming 30 minutes early at 7:23pm ET, beneath a stunning sunset. Hundreds of employees gathered to watch the event and cheer on Discovery as they watched the last of two launches get underway. Loud roars and applause could be heard as the shuttle passed the grandstands and cars poured into the area as everyone wanted to catch a glimpse.
Lekker! Dit lyk of hier weer `n helder komeet (Comet 103P/Hartley 2) op pad is. Die maan gaan pla, maar dalk sien ons dit met die blote oog of ten minste met verkykers. Hier is `n klomp inligting. Kry jou sterkaarte reg en maak reg om te kyk.
In Suid-Afrika gaan Comet 103P/Hartley 2 so teen 8 Oktber sy kop in die Noorde bo die horison uitsteek.
Comet 103P/Hartley promises to be the brightest comet of 2010 when it peaks in October.
Richard Talcott, senior editor
The brightest comet of the year starts to put on a good show in late September before reaching its peak in October. When Comet 103P/Hartley glows at its brightest, it should be visible with naked eyes under a dark sky.
Australian astronomer Malcolm Hartley discovered this comet in March 1986. It orbits the Sun once every 6.5 years, traveling from just outside the orbit of Jupiter to nearly Earth's distance from the Sun. This is the comet's fourth return to the inner solar system since it was discovered, and its best one yet.
Comet 103P/Hartley should peak at 5th magnitude when it passes closest to Earth in October. A 5th-magnitude star is bright enough to see with naked eyes if you're out of the city, but a comet's light spreads out, making it harder to see. Still, you'll have a good chance to see it without optical aid from a dark-sky site. Binoculars will show the comet nicely, and a telescope will let you see details. More info