Upon learning about exoplanets, I’ve become fascinated with one 20 years light years away from Earth called the Gliese 581c, which resides in the Gliese 581 system. The Gliese 581c was discovered in 2007 using the radial velocity method of detection (tugs on its planet star). At the time of its discovery, it was the smallest exoplanet detected around a main sequence star and the known exoplanet which most resembled our own Earth.
While thought to reside within the habitable zone, it actually lies just beyond it, making it unfit for civilization. The Gliese 581c also suffers from a runaway greenhouse effect due to its proximity to its host star.
Cool facts about the Gliese 581c:
- Located third in order from its host star
- Orbits a red dwarf
- Classed as a Super Earth (has up to 10x the mass of Earth)
- Tidally locked (one side faces its host star while the other is in constant darkness)
- Most similar to Venus