Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Planet Smells Funny

Sept. 13, 2010: Giant planet GJ 436b in the constellation Leo is missing something. Would you believe swamp gas?
To the surprise of astronomers who have been studying the Neptune-sized planet using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, GJ 436b has very little methane (CH4). "Methane should be abundant on a planet of this temperature and size, but we found 7000 times less methane than what the models predict," says Kevin Stevenson of the University of Central Florida (UCF). Stevenson was lead author of a paper reporting the result in the April 22, 2010, issue of Nature. Story here

No comments: