NASA finds first super-Earth exoplanet with an atmosphere

Astrophysicists at NASA have found a super-Earth exoplanet dubbed as 55 Cancri e with an atmosphere for the first time.

These NASA astrophysicists were working with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the University College London.

Key facts

  • 55 Cancri e was discovered using Hubble telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3).
  • It is located around 40 light years away and eight times bigger than earth.
  • It is located extremely close to its planet star, which heats its surface to a staggering 2,000 degrees Celcius making it only known super-Earth with such a high temperature.
  • 55 Cancri e’s atmosphere largely consists of hydrogen (H) and helium (He) similar to gas giant planets with no traces of water and doesn’t sustain life.

Super-earths: They are merely rocky planets that are larger than the Earth. They’re widely supposed to be the most common type of rocky planet in the galaxy.

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Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2017

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