Sunday, May 17, 2009

Alien Laser-like signal detected from earth like planet Gliese 581e

This extract from the Australian news paper looks at the amazing discovery of a possible laser like beam detected coming from Gliese 581e (the first earth like sized planet discovered outside our solar system)

Ragbir Bhathal, an astrophysicist at the University of Western Sydney, who teaches the only university-based course on SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) in Australia, detected the suspicious signal on a clear night last December, he knew better than to crack open the special bottle of champagne he has tucked away for the history-making occasion.

Instead, he's spent the past few months meticulously investigating whether the unrecognised signature was caused by a glitch in his instrumentation, a rogue astrophysical phenomenon, or some unknown random noise.

Even if he picks up the signal again - he's been scouring the same co-ordinates of the night sky on an almost daily basis since - the scientific rule book dictates he'll need to get it peer-reviewed before he can take his announcement to the world. "And that is a lot of ifs," he concedes.

The hunt for extraterrestrial life has been boosted recently by the discovery last month of a rocky world not unlike our own, about 20 light years away, which its Swiss discoverers have dubbed Gliese 581e, the latest in a long line of planet discoveries during the past decade (350 and counting).

Although Gliese 581e is too close to its host sun to support life, it's the first planet believed to be rocky like our own, a kind of super-hot Earth quite unlike the long line of gas and ice giants discovered to date.

source -read more here

about Gliese 581 - earth like planet

An international team from the European Southern Observatory says the solar system Gliese 581 revealed a new planet labeled "E", and it's the smallest exoplanet ever found. Exoplanets are planets found outside our own solar system. While "E" is too hot and too close to the star it orbits around to be able to sustain life, one of its neighbors is located in the prime habitable zone.

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