On September 29th, two scientists announced that a recently discovered planet orbiting a distant red dwarf star resided in the habitable zone of it’s universe (referred to as the Goldilocks Zone as it wouldn’t be either too hot or too cold) thus believed capable of supporting ot only human visitors in the future but also capable of maintaining it’s own residence, including the possibility of highly evolved life forms.
And while this was truly unheard of news to the majority of the world, one man always knew deep down that this would be where life could be discovered…
A scientist at the University of Western Sydney and member of the Australian chapter of S.E.T.I., Ragbir Bhathal claims that in December of 2008 he detected a pulse of light coming from the same area of a distant galaxy that Planet Gliese 581g is believed to reside in.
"Whenever there's a clear night, I go up to the observatory and do a run on some of the celestial objects," Bhathal told the Daily Mail. "Looking at one of these objects, we found this signal. We found this very sharp signal, sort of a laser lookalike thing which is the sort of thing we're looking for – a very sharp spike. And that is what we found."
Not so fast…
While this too is very exciting news that stretches the human imagination to it’s limits, scientists the world over are not yet ready to go all in on the claims of Prof. Bhathal.
"I know the scientist, and when he first announced it, I asked him for the details, and he wouldn't send them to me," astronomer and SETI pioneer Frank Drake told SPACE.com. "I'm very suspicious."
"I'm not aware of the location that was claimed for the source of that light, and [Bhathal] refused to tell me where it came from," Drake said. "I think it's very unlikely that it came from the direction of Gliese 581."
As the new world turns…
Discovered by Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, and his colleague Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Gliese 581g is one of two new worlds discovered to be orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581, a star roughly 20.5 light years away from Earth (really freaking close by space standards…).
While there are six planets known to orbit around the parent star, Gliese 581g is the only one in the so-called habitable zone – a region where liquid water can exist. Astronomers have long-thought that the presence of liquid water, which accompanies life on Earth, could be a major ingredient for life on other worlds.
Observations have shown that Gliese 581g is between three and four times the mass of Earth. While it is larger than our planet, it is still classified as a nearly Earth-sized world. Its radius is between 1.3 and two times the size of Earth, scientists have said.
The planet has not been officially named yet (nor have any other worlds in the Gliese 581 system). But Vogt has given it the nickname "Zarmina's World," in honor of his wife.