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Gliese 581

Gliese 581 is back in the news, since it apparently has a medium-sized planet in its habitable zone. We have no way of knowing yet if it actually supports life, but if there are intelligent beings there, and they look in the general direction of Orion, they'll notice that one star is peculiarly radio-noisy:

The sky from Gliese 581 isn't vastly different from Earth's, since it's only 20 light years away, but there are a few differences. Sirius is much less bright, being 26 light years away instead of 8 as seen from Earth. The region around Cetus and Pisces, quite sparse from Earth, is a little brighter-looking with stars such as Sirius, Fomalhaut, and Alpha Centauri (a.k.a. Rigel Kentaurus) migrating into the area. The brightest star in the entire sky is probably Arcturus, which is just over half as far from Gliese 581 as it is from Earth, and almost as bright as Sirius is from Earth. On the other hand, constellations that have mostly very distant stars, like Orion, are almost unchanged.

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