Volume 91 Issue 11 | p. 10 | News of The Week
Issue Date: March 18, 2013

Distant Planet Yields To Chemical Characterization

Space: Sharp spectral lines allow astronomers to determine origins of a planet outside our solar system
Department: Science & Technology
News Channels: Analytical SCENE
Keywords: exoplanet, atmosphere, spectroscopy, solar systems

Of the thousands of known planets outside our solar system, most have been discovered by looking at the gravitational wobbles they generate in their parent stars or at the faint dimming of starlight as the planets pass in front of those stars. Since 2008, a few such exoplanets have been detected directly, but chemical species in their atmospheres have only been broadly characterized.

Astronomers now have obtained the sharpest, most sensitive spectrum yet of the . . .

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