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HR 8799c: Water Detection Moves Spectroscopy Forward

26 Nov 2018, 17:03 UTC
HR 8799c: Water Detection Moves Spectroscopy Forward W. M. Keck Observatory/Adam Makarenko/C. Alvarez.

We have over a dozen directly imaged exoplanets at this point, but HR 8799 gives us the first multiple planet system to be so viewed. A newly published study reports on the use of a high-resolution spectrometer called NIRSPEC (near-infrared cryogenic echelle spectrograph) that works at infrared wavelengths. Built at the UCLA Infrared Laboratory, it has detected water in the atmosphere of HR 8799c, a gas giant of 7 Jupiter masses in a 200 year orbit. The work also demonstrates a lack of methane in data from an instrument sensitive enough to find it.

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