Saturday, October 16, 2010

Goldilocks Planet May Not Even Exist

Gliese 581
About two weeks ago, I was one of the only voices on the Internet raising a skeptical eyebrow at all the fantastic claims surrounding the alleged new planet, Gliese 851g. Now it appears that another group of astronomers from Switzerland have questioned the supposed planet’s existence using some of the same data as the original researchers. Using an expanded data set from the HARPS instrument on the La Silla telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile, this group was unable to find evidence for the planet at all.

In a interview, one of the original researchers, Steven Vogt said that he was confident in his conclusions and found it odd that the Swiss researchers didn’t use data from the HIRES instrument on the Keck telescope at Hawaii's Keck Observatory which he said was needed in addition to the other data to reliably detect the new planet.

The new information was announced at an astronomy conference, as many new discoveries are, but it is the actual published scientific paper which needs to be scrutinized by other scientists before any conclusion can be come to.

My point is that the chickens were counted way before they hatched regarding Gliese 851g, and even if the planet is found to exist, it is still just a tug on a star, and any other information is speculation.

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