Organic Molecules Detected in Exoplanet Atmosphere

The basic chemistry for life has been detected the atmosphere of a second hot gas planet, HD 209458b. Data from the Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes provided spectral observations that revealed molecules of carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor in the planet's atmosphere. The Jupiter-sized planet – which occupies a tight, 3.5-day orbit around a sun-like star — is not habitable but it has the same chemistry that, if found around a rocky planet in the future, could indicate the presence of life. Astronomers are excited about the detection, as it shows the potential of being able to characterize planets where life could exist.

Full article by Nancy Atkinson on Universe Today



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