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Rotational modulation are discovered in both J and H band light curves of 2M1207b. (Image courtesy Yifan Zhou)

Steward Astronomers Watch Clouds Change on Exoplanets

A team of astronomers led by Steward Observatory graduate student Yifan Zhou used the Hubble Space Telescope to measure minute variations in the brightness of a super-Jupiter exoplanet. The brightening and dimming of the rotating super-Jupiter reveals that its atmosphere is enshrouded in a patchy cloud structure. The brightness measurements - the first for an imaged exoplanet - open a new window on the distribution and evolution of clouds in super-Jupiters and also allow astronomers to measure the rotation rate of such exoplanets directly, for the first time. The HST press release can be seen HERE. The UA press release can be seen HERE. The study is featured on the ManyWorlds blog HERE and on the site HERE

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