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Yahoo! News Story - In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet - Yahoo! News

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  • Mark Andrew Holmes
    Mark Andrew Holmes (mahtezcatpoc@yahoo.com) has sent you a news article. (Email address has not been verified.) ... Personal message: In a first for astronomy,
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 23, 2008
      Mark Andrew Holmes (mahtezcatpoc@...) has sent you a news article.
      (Email address has not been verified.)
      ------------------------------------------------------------
      Personal message:



      In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet - Yahoo! News

      http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080320/ts_afp/spaceastronomyexoplanetmethane

      ============================================================
      Yahoo! News
      http://news.yahoo.com/
    • mahtezcatpoc
      ... Yahoo! News ... http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080320/ts_afp/spaceastronomyexoplanetmet hane BLGD... Mark A. Holmes Begin story.-- In a first for astronomy,
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 25, 2008
        --- In thefixedstars@yahoogroups.com, Mark Andrew Holmes
        <mahtezcatpoc@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Mark Andrew Holmes (mahtezcatpoc@...) has sent you a news article.
        > (Email address has not been verified.)
        > ------------------------------------------------------------
        > Personal message:
        >
        >
        >
        > In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet -
        Yahoo! News
        >
        >
        http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080320/ts_afp/spaceastronomyexoplanetmet
        hane



        BLGD...


        Mark A. Holmes



        Begin story.--


        In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet

        Thu Mar 20, 4:03 AM ET



        PARIS (AFP) - Astronomers have announced they have detected methane
        in the atmosphere of a planet 63 light years away, boosting prospects
        for identifying any life that exists beyond our Solar System.

        The team also confirmed previous suspicions that the planet, known by
        the tag of HD 189733b, has water in its atmosphere.

        Reporting their work in the weekly British journal Nature this week,
        astronomers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used the
        orbiting US-European Hubble telescope to get an infrared
        spectroscopic signature of the planet's atmosphere.

        Spectroscopy entails breaking light into its components to reveal
        the "fingerprints" of chemicals it contains.

        They found an unmistakeable signature for methane, a molecule of
        carbon and hydrogen that can in some conditions play a key role in
        creating the conditions for life.

        In this case, life on HD 189733b is almost certainly out of the
        question.

        The planet, located in the constellation of Vulpecula, or the Little
        Fox, is one of a type of large planets called "hot Jupiters," whose
        surface is scorched and where liquid water could not exist.

        HD 189733b is closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun. It takes
        only two days to complete one orbit and has a sweltering temperature
        of 900 degrees Celsius (1,650 degrees Fahrenheit) -- hot enough to
        melt silver.

        What counts, though, is the achievement of spotting the methane.

        The technique could be extended to other planets that orbit cooler
        stars in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone," where the temperature is
        not too hot, not too cold but just right for nurturing life.

        "This is a crucial stepping stone to eventually characterising pre-
        biotic molecules on planets where life could exists," said JPL's Mark
        Swain, who led the investigation.

        "This observation is proof that spectroscopy can eventually be done
        on a cooler and potentially habitable Earth-sized planet orbiting a
        dimmer red dwarf-type star."

        More than 270 planets beyond our Solar System, known as exoplanets,
        have been spotted since the first one was detected 13 years ago.

        Although the tally of planets is steadily rising, the big frustration
        has been to garner details about their chemical composition -- the
        key to identifying whether any holds the potential for life.

        Swain's team used the powerful NICMOS spectroscopy camera aboard the
        Hubble to get snapshots as HD 189733b passed on a direct line between
        its own star and Earth on a day in May last year.

        The light from the star passed through the planet's atmosphere,
        bringing with it telltale chemical signatures -- but the chief task
        lay in finding these needles in a haystack of wavelengths.

        The observations also confirmed the existence of water molecules,
        something that had been inferred earlier by NASA's Spitzer space
        telescope.

        In a commentary, University of Arizona planetary scientist Adam
        Showman said that the achievement was a remarkable step forward in
        exoplanet knowledge.

        The Hubble and Spitzer telescopes are now entering old age, but new-
        generation, more powerful orbital platforms are under development, he
        noted.

        "We are thus now seeing but the opening salvo in a revolution that
        will extend humankind's view of planetary worlds far beyond the
        provincial boundaries of our Solar System," said Showman, writing in
        Nature.





        --End story.
      • mahtezcatpoc
        The star is also known as V452 Vulpeculae and is located just west of the Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27) in the Fox s belly. RA: 20h 00m 43.713s Dec:
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 30, 2008
          The star is also known as V452 Vulpeculae and is located just west of
          the Dumbbell Nebula (Messier 27) in the Fox's belly.

          RA: 20h 00m 43.713s Dec: +22°42'39.070" (2000)

          8 Aquarius 51 (Tropical).


          Mark A. Holmes



          > --- In thefixedstars@yahoogroups.com, Mark Andrew Holmes
          > <mahtezcatpoc@> wrote:
          > >
          > >
          > > Mark Andrew Holmes (mahtezcatpoc@) has sent you a news article.
          > > (Email address has not been verified.)
          > > ------------------------------------------------------------
          > > Personal message:
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet -
          > Yahoo! News
          > >
          > >
          > http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080320/ts_afp/spaceastronomyexoplanetmet
          > hane
          >
          >
          >
          > BLGD...
          >
          >
          > Mark A. Holmes
          >
          >
          >
          > Begin story.--
          >
          >
          > In a first for astronomy, methane is spotted on distant planet
          >
          > Thu Mar 20, 4:03 AM ET
          >
          >
          >
          > PARIS (AFP) - Astronomers have announced they have detected methane
          > in the atmosphere of a planet 63 light years away, boosting prospects
          > for identifying any life that exists beyond our Solar System.
          >
          > The team also confirmed previous suspicions that the planet, known by
          > the tag of HD 189733b, has water in its atmosphere.
          >
          > Reporting their work in the weekly British journal Nature this week,
          > astronomers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) used the
          > orbiting US-European Hubble telescope to get an infrared
          > spectroscopic signature of the planet's atmosphere.
          >
          > Spectroscopy entails breaking light into its components to reveal
          > the "fingerprints" of chemicals it contains.
          >
          > They found an unmistakeable signature for methane, a molecule of
          > carbon and hydrogen that can in some conditions play a key role in
          > creating the conditions for life.
          >
          > In this case, life on HD 189733b is almost certainly out of the
          > question.
          >
          > The planet, located in the constellation of Vulpecula, or the Little
          > Fox, is one of a type of large planets called "hot Jupiters," whose
          > surface is scorched and where liquid water could not exist.
          >
          > HD 189733b is closer to its star than Mercury is to the Sun. It takes
          > only two days to complete one orbit and has a sweltering temperature
          > of 900 degrees Celsius (1,650 degrees Fahrenheit) -- hot enough to
          > melt silver.
          >
          > What counts, though, is the achievement of spotting the methane.
          >
          > The technique could be extended to other planets that orbit cooler
          > stars in the so-called "Goldilocks Zone," where the temperature is
          > not too hot, not too cold but just right for nurturing life.
          >
          > "This is a crucial stepping stone to eventually characterising pre-
          > biotic molecules on planets where life could exists," said JPL's Mark
          > Swain, who led the investigation.
          >
          > "This observation is proof that spectroscopy can eventually be done
          > on a cooler and potentially habitable Earth-sized planet orbiting a
          > dimmer red dwarf-type star."
          >
          > More than 270 planets beyond our Solar System, known as exoplanets,
          > have been spotted since the first one was detected 13 years ago.
          >
          > Although the tally of planets is steadily rising, the big frustration
          > has been to garner details about their chemical composition -- the
          > key to identifying whether any holds the potential for life.
          >
          > Swain's team used the powerful NICMOS spectroscopy camera aboard the
          > Hubble to get snapshots as HD 189733b passed on a direct line between
          > its own star and Earth on a day in May last year.
          >
          > The light from the star passed through the planet's atmosphere,
          > bringing with it telltale chemical signatures -- but the chief task
          > lay in finding these needles in a haystack of wavelengths.
          >
          > The observations also confirmed the existence of water molecules,
          > something that had been inferred earlier by NASA's Spitzer space
          > telescope.
          >
          > In a commentary, University of Arizona planetary scientist Adam
          > Showman said that the achievement was a remarkable step forward in
          > exoplanet knowledge.
          >
          > The Hubble and Spitzer telescopes are now entering old age, but new-
          > generation, more powerful orbital platforms are under development, he
          > noted.
          >
          > "We are thus now seeing but the opening salvo in a revolution that
          > will extend humankind's view of planetary worlds far beyond the
          > provincial boundaries of our Solar System," said Showman, writing in
          > Nature.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --End story.
          >
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