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A team of astronomers claimed to have detected an atmosphere around an Earth-like exoplanet, the first of its kind discovery that could have far-fetched implications in the ongoing search for alien life.
The exoplanet named Gliese 1132b is orbiting a red dwarf star around 39 light years from our planet. Using data collected by the powerful telescope of the European Southern Observatory and the GROND imager, researchers have estimated that the exoplanet has its own atmosphere.
The discovery of the exoplanet’s atmosphere was made by a team of researchers led by John Southworth of the United Kingdom’s Keele University. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy and the University of Cambridge were also involved in the discovery.
Sharing their study, Dr. Southworth said, “The planet is significantly hotter and a bit larger than Earth, so one possibility is that it is a “water world” with an atmosphere of hot steam.”
Though it is unlikely that the exoplanet is habitable because of its scorching surface temperature of 698 degrees Fahrenheit, yet the discovery is being hailed as a big step forward in the search for alien life.
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