The planet of Ghosts (Gliese 581 c)


Gliese 581 c is one of the very few planets which is believed to be located at the habitable zone of its parent star Gliese 581. A habitable zone of a star is a place where if a planet exist that it will have proper weather condition for liquid water to flow and humanity to leave. Assuming that the planet can sustain life how will the planet look like from a observer point at that planet?


Gliese 581 is a red dwarf star. So the sky of the planet always look like bloody crimson. The red light wouldn’t just make you feel strange; it would affect all vegetation, forcing every plant to attain photosynthetic energy from the infrared spectrum. The tangible consequence of that is that every plant would look pitch black.


As the planet is very close to the star, its rotation period around its own axis is same as the orbiting period. So, the planet has been generally considered to always have one hemisphere facing the star (only day), and the other always facing away (only night), or in other words being tidally locked. Although a recent orbital fit to the Gliese 581 system uses a circular orbit for Gliese 581 c, older fits use an eccentricity between 0.10 and 0.22. If the orbit of the planet were eccentric, it would undergo violent tidal flexing. Because tidal forces are stronger when the planet is close to the star, eccentric planets are expected to have a rotation period which is shorter than its orbital period, also called pseudo-synchronization. But in any case if we consider a 1:1 tidal fixing then one side of the planet which is facing the star will be extremely hot and the other side will be chilling cold. Only places where life can exist is the narrow band between the day side and night side. And with one side of the planet always hot and one always cold, you can expect some strange weather patterns, with gale winds perpetually surging from the hot to the cold side every day, along with permanent torrential rain, because there are no seasons.

Image converted using ifftoany

Habitable zone of a star

So summarizing, red sky, black plants, gale wind, never ending toy-light will make the planet a proper place for shooting of a horror film.  But still if life exist there it will begin a new chapter on the aliens.




Read more:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s