Sulphur Makes A Surprise Appearance in this Exoplanet’s Atmosphere

This artist's illustration shows the Neptune-like exoplanet GJ 3470b, which has an atmosphere rich in sulphur. The planet's atmosphere holds clues to how it and other similar planets formed. Image Credit: Department of Astronomy, UW–Madison

At our current level of knowledge, many exoplanet findings take us by surprise. The only atmospheric chemistry we can see with clarity is Earth’s, and we still have many unanswered questions about how our planet and its atmosphere developed. With Earth as our primary reference point, many things about exoplanet atmospheres seem puzzling in comparison and generate excitement and deeper questions.

That’s what’s happened with GJ-3470 b, a Neptune-like exoplanet about 96 light-years away.

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