2.12.2008

Organic molecules found on alien world for the 1st time
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Excerpt from New Scientist:


The giant planet HD 189733b is too hot for its methane and water vapour to signal life (Illustration: Christophe Carreau/ESA)

Organic molecules – in the form of methane – have been detected on a planet outside our solar system for the first time. The giant planet lies too close to its parent star for the methane to signal life, but the detection offers hope that astronomers will one day be able to analyse the atmospheres of Earth-like worlds.

Astronomers Mark Swain and Gautam Vasisht of Caltech in Pasadena, US, and Giovanna Tinetti of University College London, UK, used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the giant planet HD 189733b, which is slightly more massive than Jupiter and lies 63 light years from Earth.

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