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Helium Discovered in Atmosphere of an Exoplanet for the First Time
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
For the first time, astronomers have detected the element helium in the atmosphere of a planet outside our Solar System, according to a new study published in the journal Nature. Due to its ubiquity, scientists have long-thought that helium should be easily detectable in larger exoplanets—planets which orbit stars outside the Solar System—however, more than a decade of searching for the gas in the atmospheres of these distant worlds has proven unsuccessful, until now. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers unexpectedly detected the element on WASP-107b—a strange, Jupiter-sized exoplanet located around 200 light-years from Earth with one of the lowest known densities (it only has 12% of Jupiter’s mass). read more
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