back to article Hot wet alien world discovered in constellation Cygnus

Lucky astronomers have peered through the clear skies of tiny, faraway exoplanet HAT-P-11b – and detected signs of water vapour. Artist's impression of HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-like exoplanet with water vapour in its atmosphere The Neptune-sized world was seen through Hubble, Spitzer and Kepler space telescopes, and its clear …

  1. DropBear

    Hmmm... I'm sure it's obvious where I'm going with this, but I'm wondering if those telescopes would be able to pick up beer atoms instead...

    1. Rich 11

      There's plenty of booze out there, thankfully.

      (If the science doesn't interest you, just skip to the final paragraph.)

    2. Mr C

      blue aliens

      Why do various images of blue indigenous aliens with long tails that they use to fornicate on mysteriously floating rocks in the sky come into my mind?

      This is disturbing. Might have to do with that beer you mentioned just now

  2. steamrunner

    Wait a minute... boffins can now 'see' the weather on *other* planets and whether it's cloudy or not there? It seems a struggle to just do that around here at times...

    1. Mage

      Weather Struggle

      Easy to know about clouds today,

      Predicting Tomorrow is harder

      Next week is nearly impossible.

    2. DNTP

      Technically they are seeing the weather there as it happened 120 years ago so its not a very good forecast either.

      According to my calculations, in the time it takes us to see the weather on that exoplanet, the weather in Boston, Massachusetts has changed states 2.1e7 times. I leave it as an exercise for the non-native readers to back-extrapolate how shifty it gets here. You may round to the nearest minute.

  3. Anonymous Custard

    That's lucky for us because it means clouds didn't block our view of water molecules.

    Just as well, or else they'd be reaching for their Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulators.

  4. Cthugha

    wow...some world we'll never see has something something something.......ZZZZZzzzzzz.........Wake me when the aliens land.......hold on i remember the TV telling me last night that Ancient Aliens caused everything..............

  5. frank ly

    Clouds, blocking the view of water molecules

    I am the only one who finds that funny and surreal?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cloudy thinking

    "clouds didn't block our view of water molecules"

    "the world is blanketed in water vapour"

    So I'm no meteorologist, but doesn't "a blanket of water vapour"="clouds"

    1. Kernel

      Re: Cloudy thinking

      It's only on this planet does the assumption that cloud = water vapour hold true.

      Depending on the temperature of the particular planet in question clouds could be formed of a number of substances, such as hydrogen, methane, ammonia, nitrogen, even mercury in a vapour state - to name just a few.

    2. RichD

      Re: Cloudy thinking

      >Cloudy thinking

      >"clouds didn't block our view of water molecules"

      >"the world is blanketed in water vapour"

      >So I'm no meteorologist, but doesn't "a blanket of water vapour"="clouds"

      Water vapour is invisible, as is steam. What you're seeing as clouds is a mist of water droplets.

  7. Crazy Operations Guy

    The Kepler Telescope

    I sometimes wonder what would happen if we could go back in time and tell Kepler that in less than 400 Years, we'll send a telescope into space that lets us figure out the weather of a planet so far away it takes the light it reflected 120 years to get here. He'd think us mad, but then we'd probably say the same thing to someone 400 years form now...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I Wish I Was an Artist

    Yay for the artists' impressions!

    Makes me wonder, do you have to be good at drawing to be an astronomer or do observatories come with 'house artists' who receive requests like "I want a picture of a place that's got clear skies but is a little bit damp, like Waterworld, but to give you an idea, here's a photo of Prestatyn in July"?

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: I Wish I Was an Artist

      I see two possibilities:

      An Astronomer decides to take up drawing and art as a hobby.


      Some artists might pick up Astronomy as a hobby and end up making friends with the professionals (who then ask form drawings based off of observations)

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Science Illustrators - they're a thing

      Who do you think makes all those nice pictures of dinosaurs.

      1. D@v3

        Re: Pictures of dinosaurs?

        Me. With my time machine.

  9. i like crisps what?

    Astronomy or Astrology........which is the most pointless?

  10. Simon Harris

    where do they process their data?

    It would be appropriately ironic if they use cloud computing to discover there are no clouds.

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