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    NASA Scientists Map Clouds on Exoplanet

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    For the first time ever, astronomers have mapped the clouds on a planet in another solar system.

    For the first time ever, astronomers have mapped the clouds on a planet in another solar system.

    The planet Kepler-7b, around 1 thousand light years away from Earth, is a big gaseous planet similar to Jupiter in our own solar system.

    Using the Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, NASA scientists collected data on the exoplanet for over three years to make a map of the atmospheric clouds.

    Thomas Barclay, who works on the Kepler telescope team for NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California said: “Kepler-7b reflects much more light than most giant planets we've found, which we attribute to clouds in the upper atmosphere. Unlike those on Earth, the cloud patterns on this planet do not seem to change much over time - it has a remarkably stable climate.”

    The study will be published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

    The Kepler telescope’s mission came to an end due to hardware problems, but while it was working, it managed to find over 150 exoplanets and thousands of other potential planets.

    The technique used to map the clouds on Kepler-7b might be used in future studies of distant planets.