Cool! This is a well-known technique for detecting atmospheres of objects outside our solar system, but this is the first time it’s been used for an object so small (40% bigger diameter than our Earth).
Originally shared by Ciro Villa
Breaking: Atmosphere around super-Earth detected!
Gliese 1132 b is 1.6 Earth Masses, orbiting red dwarf GJ 1132 and is located only approximately 39 light years away!
“Astronomers have detected an atmosphere around the super-Earth GJ 1132b. This marks the first detection of an atmosphere around an Earth-like planet other than Earth itself, and thus a significant step on the path towards the detection of life on an exoplanet. The team, which includes researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, used the 2.2 m ESO/MPG telescope in Chile to take images of the planet’s host star GJ 1132, and measuring the slight decrease in brightness as the planet and its atmosphere absorbed some of the starlight while passing directly in front of their host star.”
The Study: John Southworth et al. Detection of the Atmosphere of the 1.6Exoplanet GJ 1132 b, The Astronomical Journal (2017). https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.02425