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Atmosphere of exoplanet studied

SCIENCE BRIEFING

December 13, 2008|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found evidence for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star 63 light-years from Earth, the first demonstration that it is possible to monitor atmospheric chemistry on such distant exoplanets.

Carbon dioxide could be associated with processes involving life, but in this case it probably is not because the Jupiter-sized planet, called HD 189733b, is too hot.

Previous observations by Hubble and the Spitzer Space Telescope have also found water vapor and methane in the planet's atmosphere.

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