Astronomers Detect Water in Atmosphere of Distant Planet
KAMUELA, HI – A team of international scientists using the W. M. Keck Observatory has made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-size planet beyond our Solar System.
According to lead author Quinn Konopacky, an astronomer with the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, University of Toronto and a former Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) postdoc, “We have been able to observe this planet in unprecedented detail because of Keck Observatory’s advanced instrumentation, our ground-breaking observing and data processing techniques, and because of the nature of the planetary system.” The paper appears online March 14th in Science Express, and March 22nd in the journal Science.
“This is the sharpest spectrum ever obtained of an extrasolar planet,” said co-author Bruce Macintosh, an astronomer at LLNL. “This shows the power of directly imaging a planetary system—the exquisite resolution afforded by these new observations has allowed us to really begin to probe planet formation.”