Gliese 581 compared to the Sun.

Gliese 581 is a main sequence red star with spectral type M3V, located 22 light years away from Earth, in the constellation Libra. Its estimated mass is about a third of that of the sun. Observations suggest that the star has a planetary system, containing at least free planets, possibly four, and, controversially, six planets. These planets are as follows: Gliese 581 b, Gliese 581 c, Gliese 581 d, Gliese 581 e, Gliese 581 d, Gliese 581 f, and Gliese 581 g. e, b, and c are confirmed to exist, d is unconfirmed but it is probable to exist, and f and g have been disputed. Gliese 581 has been the subject of a huge amount of attention in the quest to discover the first habitable extrasolar planet, first for c, then d and g.

The star had gained attention for Gliese 581 c, the first low-mass extrasolar planet to be found near a habitable zone. This planet was discovered in 2007. It has however been shown that under known terrestrial planet climate models, Gliese 581 c is likely to have a runaway greenhouse effect, similar to Venus, and as such may be too hot to be habitable. Gliese 581 d has been proposed as a habitable terrestrial planet, and it may be inside or just outside the outer boundary of the habitable zone (this depending on the greenhouse properties of its atmosphere), similar to Mars.

Star InfoEdit

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