NASA's Spitzer space telescope has added another exoplanet first to its' long list of accomplishments. NASA just announced that the telescope was able to directly detect the light from a "Super Earth" exoplanet located 41 light years away.
Called 55 Cancri e, it is twice as big as Earth and 8 times more massive. It is believed to be water covered with a temperature of 3,140 degrees F on the side facing its star, 55 Cancri. The water is not like our oceans but rather it is in a "supercritical" state - water and gas at the same time and covered by a layer of steam. Not a very hospitable place!
The ability of Spitzer to directly detect the light from the exoplanet by analyzing its' parent star's light is quite an accomplishment. The technique will be used on other other exoplanets and will help in finding one that is more like our planet.
Read More ABout It: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/08may_superearth/
Sky Guy in VA