Astronomers have for the first time recorded the spectra of light emitted by two extrasolar planets. This achievement provides a new, direct way to analyze the atmosphere of alien worlds light-years from Earth.
Obtained by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the infrared spectra represent a milestone in the study of distant planets, says David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. Both planets show a puzzling lack of water vapor, he adds.
Charbonneau and members of two other teams reported the findings during a NASA briefing this week.