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News Release 22 of 47

June 28, 2012 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2012-23

Hubble, Swift Detect First-Ever Changes in an Exoplanet Atmosphere

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June 28, 2012: An international team of astronomers using data from the NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made an unparalleled observation, detecting significant changes in the atmosphere of a planet located beyond the solar system. The scientists conclude that the atmospheric variations occurred in response to a powerful eruption on the planet's host star, an event observed by NASA's Swift satellite. This artist's rendering illustrates the evaporation of exoplanet HD 189733b's atmosphere in response to the powerful eruption from its host star on Sept. 7, 2011. Hubble detected the escaping gases, and Swift caught the stellar flare.

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Illustration Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, A. Lecavelier des Etangs (CNRS-UMPC, France), and P. Wheatley (University of Warwick)