Spitzer detects new planet

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has detected light emanating from a 'super-Earth' planet beyond our solar system for the first time.

'Spitzer has amazed us yet again,' said Bill Danchi, Spitzer program scientist at NASA Headquarters here. 'The spacecraft is pioneering the study of atmospheres of distant planets and paving the way for NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope to apply a similar technique on potentially habitable planets.'

The planet, called 55 Cancri e, falls into a class of planets termed super Earths, which are more massive than our home world. The planet is about twice as big and eight times as massive as Earth. It orbits a bright star, called 55 Cancri, in a mere 18 hours, according to a NASA statement.

Previously, Spitzer and other telescopes were able to study the planet by analysing the light.
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