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Space & Planetary Science

Spitzer Studies Extrasolar Planet Atmospheres

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
February 21, 2007

NASA Media Teleconference on Planets Beyond Our Solar System

“Astronomers are scheduled to announce new findings about planets beyond our solar system at a media teleconference Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. PST. The findings are from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.”

A Spitzer Spectrum of the Exoplanet HD 189733b

“The detection of HD 189733b’s spectral continuum, accomplished with only 12 hours of Spitzer time, is a remarkable demonstration of the capability and utility of the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Infrared Spectrograph.”

A Spectrum of an Extrasolar Planet

“Here we report a measurement of the infrared spectrum (7.5–13.2 micron) of the transiting extrasolar planet HD209458b. Our observations reveal a hot thermal continuum for the planetary spectrum, with approximately constant ratio to the stellar flux over this wavelength range. Superposed on this continuum is a broad emission peak centered near 9.65 micron that we attribute to emission by silicate clouds.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.