Light from alien 'super-earth' seen for first time
NASA's Spitzer space telescope has detected a light source coming from a large earth-like planet.
Light from an alien "super-Earth" twice the size of our own Earth has been detected by a NASA space telescope for the first time in what astronomers are calling a historic achievement.
The planet 55 Cancri e was first discovered in 2004 and is not a habitable world. Instead, it is known as a super-Earth because of its size: The world is about twice the width of Earth and is super-dense, with about eight times the mass of Earth.
But until now, scientists have never managed to detect the infrared light from the super-Earth world.
"Spitzer has amazed us yet again," said Spitzer program scientist Bill Danch of NASA headquarters in Washington in a statement today (May 8). "The spacecraft is pioneering the study of atmospheres of distant planets and paving the way for NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to apply a similar technique on potentially habitable planets."
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