Oozing Super-Earth: Images of Alien Planet 55 Cancri e

Alien Planet 55 Cancri e

NASA

The alien planet 55 Cancri e is a rocky planet that orbits perilously close to its host star.

Light Seen From Alien Super-Earth 55 Cancri e

NASA/JPL-Caltech

This artist's concept shows the super-Earth planet 55 Cancri e. It's a toasty world 41 light-years from Earth that rushes around its star every 18 hours.

Light Seen From Alien Super-Earth 55 Cancri e

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MIT

This plot of data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveals the light from a "super-Earth" called 55 Cancri e.

Light Seen From Alien Super-Earth 55 Cancri e

NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope was able to detect a super Earth's direct light for the first time using its sensitive heat-seeking infrared vision. This image: In visible light, a planet is lost in the glare of its star (top view). When viewed in infrared, the planet becomes brighter relative to its star largely due to the fact that the planet's scorching heat blazes with infrared light.

How NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope Detected 55 Cancri e.

NASA/Spitzer Space Telescope/Caltech

This graphic illuminates the process by which astronomers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have for the first time detected the light from a super-Earth planet, the alien world of 55 Cancri e 41 light-years from Earth.

Diagram of super-dense alien planet 55 Cancri e transiting host star

Jason Rowe, NASA Ames and SETI Institute and Prof. Jaymie Matthews, UBC

A simulation of the silhouette of planet 55 Cancri e transiting its parent star, compared to the Earth and Jupiter transiting our sun, as seen from outside the solar system. The star 55 Cancri A is nearly a twin of the sun.

55 Cancri star system location in sky

Till Credner, AlltheSky.com

This wide-angle photograph of the night sky shows the location of 55 Cancri, a star where astronomers have found five planets, including a hot, dense super-Earth.

Alien Planet 55 Cancri e

NASA

An artist's impression of the alien planet 55 Cancri e, with Earth in the foreground for comparison.

Alien Planet 55 Cancri e - Comparison with Earth

NASA

An artist's impression of the alien planet 55 Cancri e (right), next to Earth (left) for size comparisons.

Alien Planet 55 Cancri e Surface

NASA

An artist's impression of the surface of the alien planet 55 Cancri e, which is located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

Alien Planet 55 Cancri e - A Rocky World

NASA

The alien planet 55 Cancri e is a rocky world that orbits very close to its parent star. The multiplanet 55 Cancri system is located about 40 light-years away from Earth.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.