Could large telescopes scope out oxygen on exoplanets?

02/19/2013 | New Scientist

Massive telescopes such as the Extremely Large Telescope under construction in Chile are expected to be sensitive enough to detect the presence of oxygen on alien planets, as their atmospheres are lit up by the stars they pass. The process won't be easy; the exoplanet would have to pass its star several times to collect data, and that could take anywhere from 4 to 400 years.

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