Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hubble Sees An Extrasolar Planet's Atmosphere

Now here's a feat. The Hubble Space Telescope was able to analyze the atmosphere of a gas giant planet orbiting another star.

Hubble's instruments revealed how the strange world, designated HD 209458b, is unlike anything else in our solar system. It orbits its parent star so closely that it only takes 3.5 days to complete an orbit. This close proximity raises its temperature above the temperature of our own Sun, and causes its outer atmosphere to boil off.