Astronomers find Earth twin?

Phot22a07preview_2[Cross posted from the KySat web log]

Using an observatory in Chile, astronomers have found the most Earth-like planet to date, according to the BBC. The planet is in orbit around a red dwarf star, Gliese 581, which is about 20 light years away according an article on the front page of the USA Today.

The original story may be located here, at the European Southern Observatory web site, which posted this news:

'We have estimated that the mean temperature of this super-Earth lies between 0 and 40 degrees Celsius, and water would thus be liquid,' explains Stéphane Udry, from the Geneva Observatory (Switzerland) and lead-author of the paper reporting the result. ' Moreover, its radius should be only 1.5 times the Earth's radius, and models predict that the planet should be either rocky - like our Earth - or fully covered with oceans,' he adds.

The image is an artist's impression of the system around Gliese 581, which has other, gaseous planets, in orbit.

Image credit: The European Southern Observatory.