Saturday, April 24, 2010
An exoplanet called Gliese 436b (GJ 436b) discovered in 2004 is receiving some more attention over the past few days due to new direct measurements showing the composition of the planet's atmosphere, showing it to have a lot of carbon monoxide instead of the expected methane, which is what one would usually expect with a gas giant. Follow-up measurements of exoplanets are just as exciting as the discovery of an exoplanet in the first place, since follow-up measurements are what we are going to be so eager for once an Earth-like planet is discovered and we want to learn more about it.
Due to these measurements this planet is actually said to be a bit "Earth-like", but that only means Earth-like in atmospheric composition, not in that anything living on Earth could live on its surface as it's hotter than Venus at almost 600C. For a better article on the planet's atmosphere though, see here.