Water Ice Clouds Found Outside Solar System
A team of scientists led by the Carnegie Institution’s Jacqueline Faherty has discovered the first evidence of water ice clouds on an object outside of our own Solar System. Water ice clouds exist on our own gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — but have not been seen outside of the planets orbiting our Sun, until now. Their findings are published by The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
At the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile, Faherty, along with a team including Carnegie’s Andrew Monson, used the FourStar near infrared camera to detect the coldest brown dwarf ever characterized. Their findings are the result of 151 images taken over three nights and combined. The object, named WISE J085510.83-071442.5, or W0855, was first seen by NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Explorer mission and published earlier this year. But it was not known if it could be detected by Earth-based facilities.
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