Last updated on April 21, 2014 at 10:19 EDT
Extrasolar Planet GJ 1214b
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Extrasolar Planet GJ 1214b

December 4, 2010
The extrasolar planet GJ 1214b, shown here in an artist's conception with two hypothetical moons, orbits a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. GJ 1214b has a radius of about 2.7 times that of the Earth and is about 6.5 times as massive, putting it squarely into the class of exoplanets known as super-Earths. Astronomers have confirmed that this alien world has a thick atmosphere, but can't yet determine whether the atmosphere is primarily hydrogen or a steamy soup of water vapor.