Carbon Dioxide Found on New World

It’s no new thing to find a planet these days since we’ve detected hundreds of extrasolar planets by now. Now being able to determine the chemicals present on other planets, now that’s pretty new and exciting. Now for the first time carbon dioxide has been detected on a planet outside of our solar system.

The planet is called HD 189733b and lies about 63 light years from us. It’s a large planet, about the size of Jupiter with a very short rotation period of only 2.2 days. Astronomers have been observing the planet for a while now using both the Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Infrared Space Telescope. Last year they discovered water vapor and then some time later methane. But this is the first time an organic compound such as this has been found on another world. Now this planet is too hot to support life, but chemicals like this one are by products of life processes thus when we are able to start detecting earth sized planets this may be an indirect way of discovering other life forms.

It is exciting not just knowing that these other planets are there but we’re actually able to say something about them. Using the Hubble Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) to study the infrared light emitted by the planet. Gases in the planet’s atmosphere absorb certain wavelengths of light from the planet’s hot glowing interior. The astronomers identified not only carbon dioxide, but also carbon monoxide. The molecules leave their own unique spectral fingerprint on the radiation from the planet that reaches Earth. This is the first time a near-infrared emission spectrum has been obtained for an exoplanet. With these detection techniques we can describe the conditions, chemistry, and atmospheric composition of other planets.

This planet was a good candidate for this type of study because of the orientation of the planet to Earth’s orbit. The planet’s orbit is facing us edge on, so when it moves around its star and the star eclipses it. So astronomers are bale to subtract out the light that is due only to the star and thus are left with the spectrum coming from the planet.

Once the new James Webb Space Telescope launches things will get even more exciting. Astronomers will be able to use this technique but with the much greater sensitivity of the new telescope hopefully it will be on terrestrial, or earth like planets. Until then astronomers will be using this technique to look at other exoplanets to see what other new things they can discover.

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One Response to “Carbon Dioxide Found on New World”

  1. Possibilities Says:


    What do you see when you look up in the sky at night?
    Did it ever occur to you that you might be looking at our own sun?
    When light leaves our sun and passes by another star it is bent.
    Each time it passes another star it is bent again until it comes back to its source.
    Since light goes out in all directions from our sun it will come back from all directions.
    In some cases it will look like a star moving away from us
    The light is also distorted the way mirrors in a fun house will make a fat person look thin and a thin person look fat. It will even change colors like in a rainbow.
    So our sun may appear as a red giant star.
    How many stars that we see at night are really just our own and how many stars are really out there and how many are just an illusion caused by bent star light.


    According to the theory of Evolution pretty much every step in evolution happens by accident.
    An individual that is born with better attributes than another one has a better chance for survival.
    But for a species to survive it takes both a male and a female. Not only must they have the desire to mate but also the ability to produce offspring. Neither of which insures the survival of the individual.
    For the thousands of species that have existed on the earth both a male and a female would have had to accidentally come into existence at the same time and with both of the above attributes.
    The odds against this are far greater than any computer could calculate.
    If the theory of Evolution were true the universe would have to be teeming with trillions of different life forms.

    Einstein’s Paradox.

    Einstein said that nothing can move faster than the speed of light.
    There are stars moving away from us and too far away from us to have reached the point in space where they are unless they were moving at speeds greater than the speed of light.
    I recommend that anyone doubting my facts contact an astronomer to have the facts
    If it is possible to leave the earth and increase your velocity then it must also be possible to leave the earth and slowdown. This is because we are not standing still but in fact moving at approximately one million miles per hour. This can also be confirmed by any astronomer.
    The Theory of Relativity states that as one approaches the speed of light time slows down.
    The opposite must also be true but there is no cut off point for this effect.
    Therefore the slower one goes the faster time must move relative to time on earth and the faster one must age relative to those on earth. This is only logical.
    Whether or not it is actually possible to resist the drag of the rest of the universe and come to a complete stop is irrelevant. The Theory of Relativity states that time can not exist without both mass and movement.
    So time can not exist at a dead stop but a person on a ship that comes to a dead stop would seem to grow old and die of old age immediately relative to those on earth.
    This is a paradox because both can not be true. In other words Einstein’s Theory of Relativity contradicts itself.

    David Postgate

    Sun City, Arizona
    623 583-7946

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