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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hubble found the cloud on an Exoplanet

NASA's space telescope, Hubble discovered exoplanet which named GJ 1214b that orbiting close to the red dwarf star. Recent findings reveal the presence of thin clouds in the atmosphere on the exoplanet.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
 (Picture from: http://imagine-hawaii.com/)
As reported by The Verge, on Wednesday, January 1, 2014, an exoplanet called GJ 1214b that has a distance of 40 light years from the Earth. The planet is known as hot 'super-earth' that orbiting red dwarf star.

Research reports in 2009 reveal that GJ 1214b is one of interesting exoplanets  to study by astronomers. They studied this exoplanet and hope to find life in other solar systems.

Previously, the planet is described as having a low density or a large gas giant to contain rocks. Along with the ongoing study, researchers found no conclusions about the type of atmosphere on the planet.
Artist's view of extrasolar planet GJ1214b. (Picture from: http://www.theverge.com/)
Hubble telescope has uncovered the GJ 1214b's atmosphere. Telescope sensors measure the light when the planet passes through the front of the star at its orbit. The telescope is equipped with infrared technology that can see more details of the gas to be around the planet.
Researchers from the University of Chicago have used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe weather patterns on the exoplanet GJ 1214b. The "super-Earth" has a cloudy atmosphere very different from those we see on Earth, the researchers said. These clouds are composed of potassium chloride or zinc sulfide at the scorching temperatures of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. (Picture from: http://www.designntrend.com/)
Data from the Hubble telescope can be interpreted by astronomers. The first possibility, this exoplanet has the atmosphere, water vapor or other heavy molecules. The second possibility, the planet has clouds that are in high positions of the planet that can cover objects beneath it.

The study, led by Laura Kreidberg and Jacob Bean of the University of Chicago using Hubble to capture the precise measurement of infrared light. Hubble observed for 96 hours and showed that the planet has clouds that blanketed the upper atmosphere.

"I think it's interesting that we could use the Hubble telescope that can make observations with the best precision," said the researcher. The level of precision is expected to be improved through Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope which is scheduled for launch in 2018. *** [EKA | FROM PREVIOUS SOURCES | THE VERGE | THE INDEPENDENT]
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