This artist’s impression shows the exoplanet Tau Boötis b. This was one of the first exoplanets to be discovered back in 1996, and it is still one of the closest planetary systems known to date. Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have now caught and studied the faint light from the planet Tau Boötis b for the first time. By employing a clever observational trick the team find that the planet’s atmosphere seems to be cooler higher up, the opposite of what was expected.
Illustration credit: ESO/L. Calçada
Note: For more information, see New Way of Probing Exoplanet Atmospheres.