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New Planets
Direct light from a super Earth
05/09/12

 

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to detect a super Earth's direct light for the first time using its sensitive heat-seeking infrared vision. Super Earth's are more massive than Earth but lighter than gas giants like Neptune. As this artist's concept shows, in visible light, a planet is lost in the glare of its star (top view). When viewed in infrared, the planet becomes brighter relative to its star. This is largely due to the fact that the planet's scorching heat blazes with infrared light. Even on our own bodies emanate more infrared light than visible due to our heat. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



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