The Atmosphere Of Exoplanets
- Year Discovered: 2007
- Location: Pegasus and Vulpecula Constellations
NASA has discovered several exoplanets over the years, but just seeing planets near their star that “appear” to be livable proves nothing. We needed to know whether or not life, especially humanoid life, could live there. This was finally achieved when NASA checked into the atmosphere of HD 209458b and HD 189733b. Both are known as “hot Jupiters,” and made of gas just like the large planet we know and love.
They orbit closer to their star than gas planets in our solar system, as the ones in ours are very far away from our Sun. That is what led to the “hot Jupiter” concept. NASA used something known as “spectroscopy” to study the atmospheres of these planets. This technique identifies chemical molecules on the planet, allowing us to know exactly what is on it and how the specific atmosphere operates.