Super-Earth Gliese 581d Might Have Been Dismissed Too Soon

Scientists around the world are searching the universe for Earth-like planets that orbit parent stars in the so-called Goldilocks zone where the temperatures are just right for liquid water and life as we know it. One such planet that was discovered back in 2009 is known as Gliese 581d. When the exo-planet was first discovered scientists thought it had a rocky surface and the potential for liquid water.

The planet was thought to be about twice the size of Earth and to have gravity about twice that of Earth. The planet was discovered using a very small frequency shift of light from the parent star known as Doppler shift as the planet moved in front of the star.

The problem for Gliese 581d cam last year when a group of astronomers from Pennsylvania State University stepped up and said that activity of the parent star the planet was said to orbit was interfering and could have imitated the signal from the orbiting planet meaning the planet might not exist. The team believed that noisy data was to blame for the Doppler shift that indicated the planet was there.

Another scientist has now stepped up named Guillem Anglada-Escudé and this scientist believes that members of the scientific community need to be more careful with that sort of claim. Guillem Anglada-Escudé believes that the planet exists and orbits the star in question. The scientist says that the strength of the statement made by the scientists from Pennsylvania State was too strong. In fact, if the team was correct Guillem Anglada-Escudé says that the methods used for detecting planets by some ground-based observatories would have to be changed. That certainly isn't definitive proof that the planet exists, but it's not definitive proof the planet doesn't exist either.

SOURCE: Discovery