More on Gliese 581c

Gliese 581 c
Artist’s impression of the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581. Credit: ESO

In the May 3rd issue of Nature there is an article about the potentially habitable planet I wrote about.

They describe an experiment that would allow us to measure the density of the planet, the best way to find out if it’s a larger Earth (rocky planet) or a smaller version of Neptune.

Neptune
Public domain image by NASA.

The problem is that for the experiment to work, the Canadian space telescope MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of Stars) has to observe the planet, Gliese 581 c, when it crosses in front of its star, Gliese 581; the planes of its orbit would need to be aligned with the star from our position. The chances of that happening were about 2% on May 7th. I haven’t seen a report on whether or not the experiment was successful yet, but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

MOST Canadian telescope
A rendering and a photo during testing of MOST, the Canadian telescope.

Before anyone asks, my interest in that planet and other astronomical objects is more based on increasing our understanding of the universe, not on some pipe dreams about moving there soon or replacing the Earth. We have so much to do here in the short and mid term to improve the human condition and the state of the biosphere, lets not kid ourselves about planets that are 20 light years away. They are interesting to study, but not on the agenda for now.

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4 Responses to “More on Gliese 581c”

  1. Jim Fisher Says:

    Sir

    You are right about this earth needing fixing. Sometimes people need a bone so to speak even if it is only a pipe dream. The human condition is grave I agree however please don’t knock the dream or the adventure, at least for me it is what keeps me going sometimes. If Gleise 581c is habitable then that is the bone I was mentioning. Even if the common joe like me wouldn’t be going it is still a thrill to know that there is something out there to strive for even vicariously. Life is hard enough without something to strive for that is bigger than ourselves. I will get down off the soap box MGR, and let it rest. I wish you success in what you do. God bless you, and yours.

    Take care, JDF

  2. isai Says:

    does glese 581c have only 1 moon or two moons………because if it has two moons and if it has water those tides are going to be realy crazy its goin to sweep up all that land

  3. isai aguilar Says:

    does glese have 1 or two moons …..becuause if it has 2 moons those tides are goin to be realy crazy if it has water…..please reply back

  4. Phil Says:

    huh this planet might actually be habitable or maybe it’s moons are while the planet is deader than a doorknob

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