Hubble helium

The Hubble Space Telescope has provided critical information to demonstrate for the first time, the presence of helium in the atmosphere of an exoplanet. Specifically, the team led by Jessica Spake of the University of Exeter, UK, used infrared spectroscopic data on the exoplanet WASP-107b to reveal the presence of this primordial element. "Helium is the second-most-common element in the universe after hydrogen," explains Spake. "It is also one of the main constituents of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in our Solar System. However, up until now helium had not been detected on exoplanets - despite searches for it." She adds that, "The strong signal from helium we measured demonstrates a new technique to study upper layers of exoplanet atmospheres in a wider range of planets."