NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Exoplanet orbits a star. Animation showing the planet known as 55 Cancri orbiting its sun-like star. This planet is about twice the size of Earth and revolves around its star in less than 18 hours. The planet is too close to its star to be seen separately in the sky, but observations with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope showed how much the total light from the system dropped as the planet slipped behind the star in what is called an occultation. The data are shown on a graph that appears in front of the star system. Astronomers can then calculate how much light is coming directly from the planet itself. The surface of 33 Cancri reaches around 1760 degrees Celsius, but does not reflect much visible light.
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