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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2004 > Feb > Feb 10

Oxygen Detected In Wake Of Extrasolar Planet

From: Frank Warren <frank-warren.nul>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 06:20:58 -0800
Fwd Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 14:54:30 -0500
Subject: Oxygen Detected In Wake Of Extrasolar Planet

Source: The News Sentinel


Mon, Feb. 09, 2004

Oxygen detected in wake of extrasolar planet
The Dallas Morning News

(KRT) - Astronomers have discovered oxygen on a planet outside
the solar system - but not, sadly for sci-fi addicts, the kind
of oxygen that extraterrestrial critters could breathe.

Oxygen and carbon atoms are flying away from a planet that
orbits the star HD 209458, which is 150 light-years (900
trillion miles) away. The oxygen and carbon most likely came
from the planet's lower atmosphere, where they once existed in
stable molecules such as water and methane.

Alfred Vidal-Madjar, an astronomer in Paris, and his colleagues
made the discovery by studying HD 209458 with the Hubble Space
Telescope. Every 3 1/2 days, the planet passes directly in front
of its parent star, creating a three-hour eclipse as seen from
Earth. The astronomers took advantage of these eclipses to study
the huge gaseous atmosphere being ripped away from the planet by
the star's powerful gravitational pull.

The findings will appear soon in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Scientists have unofficially dubbed the planet Osiris, after the
ancient Egyptian god who was ripped to pieces to prevent his
return to life after being murdered.

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