Neptune-sized orb is smallest alien world known to have water vapour.

Smallest Exoplanet
Smallest Exoplanet
For situation awareness, at 10am PT 9/24/14, NATURE published a result on the smallest exoplanet to have molecules detected in its atmosphere. HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-sized planet, is the smallest exoplanet to have molecules of any kind detected in the atmosphere.

The planet was previously known by other ground base telescopes. Kepler, Hubble, and Spritzer observations help constrain the parameters and to ultimately determine water vapor in the atmosphere. Specifically, archival data from Kepler was used to rule out that star spots on the host star weren’t creating a false detection. No Kepler project or Ames scientist are authors of the paper published in Nature today.

Here’s the NASA release that we worked with JPL, Goddard, and HQ. John Grunsfeld is quoted It’s posted on the Kepler and Ames websites and will soon be a headline on www.nasa.gov.