Latest Issue of Science News

cover 3/7

News

Alien Light: Taking the spectra of extrasolar planets

By
10:00am, February 21, 2007

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.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News