Astronomers at the University of Hertfordshire and Queen Mary University in London have dismissed a 2014 claim by Dr. Paul Robertson at Pennsylvania State University and his colleagues which said that the super-Earth in question, Gliese 581d, did not exist and was the result of noisy data caused by starspots.
The new study, which was published last week in the journal Science, claims that the statistical technique used in the 2014 study is inadequate when it comes to identifying small planets such as Gliese 581d.
Employing what the researchers believe to be a more accurate model to the existing data has lead them to believe the signal to be real, or as Sci-News reports, the astronomers are, despite the stellar variability, “highly confident” that the planet’s signal is real.
The report quoted Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escude, the lead author of the recently published study, as having said:
There are always discussions among scientists about the ways we interpret data but I’m confident that Gliese 581d has been in orbit around Gliese 581 all along. […] In any case, the strength of their statement was way too strong.
Escude noted that Gliese 581d’s significance is derived from the fact that it was the first Earth-like planet discovered within what is known as the Goldilocks-zone around another star. A goldilocks planet is one which falls within a star’s habitable zone, not too close and not too far away from its star.
In other recent astronomy related coverage here on Immortal News, NASA published an animated video which shows their satellites in orbit around the Earth and their Dawn spacecraft is finally orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres after traveling billions of miles to reach it.