Atmosphere Discovered on Earth-like Exoplanet
For the first time, astronomers have strong evidence of an Earth-like planet with an atmosphere. GJ 1132b is only 1.4 times larger than Earth and lies 39 light years away in the constellation Vela, which can be observed from the Southern Hemisphere.
Using a telescope in Chile, scientists have measured how the planet blocks out the light, as it passes in front of its red dwarf star. The observations indicate that GJ 1132b has a thick atmosphere of water, methane, or both.
The find means that planets orbiting dwarf stars can have dense atmospheres, and they are important for scientists searching for life in space, but with a surface temperature of 300+ degrees, GJ 1132b does probably not include life.