[Image is an artist’s concept] They wouldn’t float like balloons or give you the chance to talk in high, squeaky voices, but planets with helium skies may constitute an exotic planetary class in our Milky Way galaxy. Researchers using data from our Spitzer Space Telescope propose that warm Neptune-size planets with clouds of helium may be strewn about the galaxy by the thousands.
This artist’s concept depicts a proposed helium-atmosphere planet called GJ 436b, which was found by Spitzer to lack in methane — a first clue about its lack of hydrogen.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech’ (artist’s concept)
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