Was Oz-Indian scientist first to discover recently found Earth-like planet?

October 12th, 2010 - 2:23 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Oct 12 (ANI): The recent discovery of ‘Earth-like’ planet caused a tizzy in the science world, but a Sydney scientist’s claims have caused a debate regarding the find.

Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, and his colleague Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington announced the Gliese 581g finding in a press conference held by the National Science Foundation on Sept. 29.

Following the announcement of the discovery, astronomer Ragbir Bhathal, a scientist at the University of Western Sydney, claimed to have detected a suspicious pulse of light nearly two years ago that came from the same area of the galaxy as the location of Gliese 581g, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail online.

“Whenever there’s a clear night, I go up to the observatory and do a run on some of the celestial objects,” The Daily Telegraph quoted Bhathal as as saying.

“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,” he added.

But astronomer and SETI pioneer Frank Drake told Space.com that when he asked Bhathal for details of his discovery, Bathal refused to divulge any information.

“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,” he added.

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. (ANI)

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