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Hubble finds three surprisingly dry exoplanets

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have gone looking for water vapor in the atmospheres of three planets orbiting stars similar to the Sun -- and have come up nearly dry. The three planets -- HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b -- are between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth and were thought to be ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres because of their high temperatures where water turns into a measurable vapor. These so-called "hot Jupiters" are so close to their stars that they have temperatures between 1500° and 4000° Fahrenheit (815° and 2200° Celsius); however, the planets were found to have only one-tenth to one one-thousandth the amount of water predicted by standard planet formation theories.

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