Hubble telescope finds evidence of clouds on a distant planet

40 light-years away lies the exoplanet GJ 1214b, a searingly hot “super-Earth” orbiting a red dwarf star. And thanks to the Hubble telescope, researchers believe they’ve found what lies in the planet’s upper atmosphere: thick clouds. A paper, published in the January 2nd issue of Nature, relies on the telescope to settle a debate about the planet’s composition. First documented in 2009, GJ 1214b is one of several exoplanets that researchers are studying in hopes of finding a habitable world in another solar system. It’s been previously described as a “steamy waterworld,” with a density too low to be purely rock and too high to be a gas giant. But despite years of study, researchers hadn’t come to a conclusion about what kind of…

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