Extrasolar Planets

Methane and Water Vapor Observed in Atmosphere of Exoplanet

By Keith Cowing
May 1, 2008

Former NAI Postdoctoral Fellow Giovanna Tinetti is co-author on a groundbreaking paper in Nature detailing the observation of methane and water vapor in the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet HD 189733b. The team used the NASA Hubble Space Telescope to observe the transiting exoplanet, using the NICMOS camera to obtain a spectrophotometric time series. This result is a milestone in the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, most importantly because it demonstrates that we have the technology to identify these molecules in exoplanet atmospheres.

[Source: NAI newsletter]

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.