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Hot Jupiters, exoplanets around the same size as Jupiter that orbit very closely to their stars, often have cloud or haze layers in their atmospheres. This may prevent space telescopes from detecting atmospheric water that lies beneath the clouds, according to a study in the Astrophysical Journal.
As much as half of the water in the atmospheres of these exoplanets may be blocked by these clouds or hazes, research suggests. The study, led by researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, examined hot Jupiters that had been observed with the Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington.
For more information on the Hubble Space Telescope, visit http://www.nasa.gov/hubble.