Extrasolar Planets

Spectra of Two Extrasolar Planets

By Keith Cowing
February 27, 2007

Researchers from NAI’s Carnegie Institution of Washington and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Teams have a new paper in Nature describing the infrared spectrum of exoplanet HD 209458b as obtained by the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. Scientists from NAI’s University of Arizona and Alumni Virtual Planetary Laboratory Teams are contributing authors on a similar paper in Astrophysical Journal Letters which details the spectrum of exoplanet HD 189733b.

Both sets of results show relatively flat spectra, with no significant absorption by water or methane, in contrast with the predictions of most atmospheric models. One spectral feature of HD 209458b is attributed to silicate clouds. The Nature paper features the work of an NAI Summer Undergraduate Intern at the Goddard Center for Astrobiology. Both papers were the subject of a recent NASA News conference. [source: NAI Newsletter]

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