Release Images

Release No.: 2009-09
For Release: Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 12:00pm

Finding Twin Earths: Harder Than We Thought!

hypothetical twin Earth orbiting a Sun-like star

This artist's conception shows a hypothetical twin Earth orbiting a Sun-like star. A new study shows that characterizing a distant Earth's atmosphere will be difficult, even using next-generation technology like the James Webb Space Telescope. If an Earth-like world is nearby, though, then by adding observations of a number of transits, astronomers should be able to detect biomarkers like methane or ozone.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)