New Planet Found; May Be Cosmic Rosetta Stone
A newly discovered gas giant outside our solar system may become the first such exoplanet to be investigated, a new study says.
Located about 1,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, the planet Corot-9b passes in front of its star every 95 days, as viewed from Earth. Each of these "transits" lasts about eight hours.
When Corot-9b is positioned between its star and Earth, some of the light from its star passes through the exoplanet's atmosphere before continuing on to our planet.
By studying this filtered starlight, astronomers may be able to determine what molecules make up Corot-9b's atmosphere.
If that's the case, Corot-9b could become a "Rosetta stone" for exoplanet research, said study co-author Claire Moutou of the Laboratory of Astrophysics of Marseilles in France, referring to the artifact that helped decipher ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.