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Alien Planet's Missing Methane Stumps Scientists

Alien Planet Has Pretty Weird Atmosphere
NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has found evidence that a hot, Neptune-sized planet orbiting a star beyond our sun lacks methane -- an ingredient common to many planets in our own solar system. The planet illustrated here, called GJ 436b is about 980 degrees Fahrenheit (527 degrees Celsius) – it was expected to have methane but Spitzer's observations showed it does not. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)
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Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.