Telescopes get best glimpse of gases on exoplanets
Alien worlds have become a little less alien. Astronomers have gotten the most detailed look yet at the atmosphere of a planet outside the solar system.
Planets and debris aren’t the only things gravitationally bound to Fomalhaut A, a star twice the mass of the sun that sits 25 light-years away in the constellation Piscis Austrinus. It turns out that not one but two other stars are also in its clutches. Astronomers describe the triple star system in a paper posted October 3 on arXiv.org and accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal. The team notes that the Fomalhaut triple system is one of the most massive and widest among multiple-star systems closest to Earth.
A rare, rogue exoplanet without a parent star drifts through space just 80 light-years from Earth, astronomers say. The object may be the lowest-mass free-floating planet found to date in the solar neighborhood.