NASA / ESA / G. BACON (STSCI) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / ESA / G. BACON (STSCI) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Extrasolar planet HD 189733b, artwork. This extrasolar gas giant planet, orbiting a star in the constellation Vulpecula, is 63 light years from Earth. Infrared observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007 detected both water and methane in the planet's atmosphere. This was the first time an organic molecule (methane) had been discovered in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star. Methane is one of the chemicals thought to be needed for life to form. The observations were made with the Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) instrument.
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