NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has, for the first time, captured the light emanating from a distant super Earth, a planet more massive than Earth but lighter than Neptune.

Transcript:

Silent.
Robert Hurt: The exoplanet 55 Cancri e, which is about twice as large as the Earth, orbits closely around its star and is blazingly hot.

While in visible light it's easily lost in the glare of the star, its thermal glow in the infrared makes it stand out much more vividly.
Watching as the planet passes behind the star, astronomers have detected a slight dip in brightness using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.

This is the first direct measurement of the brightness of such a small planet. Silent.

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
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