Science Clear skies on HAT-P-11b pull back curtain on potentially habitable planets

HAT-P-11b isn't habitable, but it's relatively small and cool and has clear skies. If other, more-promising planets its size have similarly clear skies, they could provide evidence of life.

By , Staff writer

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp./PRNewsFoto

Cloudy skies are the bane of astronomy, on this world and on others. What hope is there of finding out if an Earth-mass extrasolar planet has an atmosphere that could support life, or that shows evidence of existing life, if you can't see past a planet's layer of high clouds?