On November 27, 2001, analysis of Hubble Space Telescope data detected an atmosphere on the extrasolar planet Osiris, the first atmosphere detected on a planet outside our solar system. Osiris orbits a star in the constellation Pegasus. It is located more than 150 light years from our solar system. Osiris is a “hot Jupiter,” almost 220 times as big as Earth.Using sensitive instruments aboard Hubble, scientists determined that only a planet with a stable atmosphere could produce the light spectrum exhibited by Osiris. While the size and composition of Osiris is incompatible with organic life, astrophysicists discovered some familiar elements in its atmosphere: hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and sodium.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry astrophysicist Noun
person who studies the relationship between matter, energy, motion, and force outside the Earth's atmosphere.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
Encyclopedic Entry: atmosphere constellation Noun
group of stars that form a recognizable shape.
chemical that cannot be separated into simpler substances.
display, often in a museum.
extrasolar planet Noun
planet outside the solar system, orbiting a star other than the sun. Also called an exoplanet.
path of one object around a more massive object.
composed of living or once-living material.
solar system Noun
the sun and the planets, asteroids, comets, and other bodies that orbit around it.
continuous band of material with each piece differing in small amounts from the piece before and after it.
steady and reliable.
large ball of gas and plasma that radiates energy through nuclear fusion, such as the sun.