A Habitable Planet?
"This is the most Goldilocks planet yet found," says team co-leader Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington (D.C.). "Not too hot for liquid water, and not too cold."
Dubbed Gliese 581g, the planet is about 120 trillion miles away, circling a red dwarf star, according to a forthcoming report in The Astrophysical Journal. One face of the world is gravitationally locked to face its star, trapped in perpetual sunlight with the far side in perpetual darkness, says the report. Impossible to determine with present telescopes, life there would enjoy a permanent sunset (or sunrise) in a ring stretching from pole to pole, says study co-leader Steven Vogt of the University of California-Santa Cruz.