Light glowing from a "super-Earth" planet beyond our solar system has been detected by Nasa’s Spitzer Telescope.
Experts are hailing the latest discovery as a historic step towards the eventual search for signs of life on other planets.
55 Cancri E is one of five exoplanets orbiting a bright star named 55 Cancri in a solar system lying in the constellation of Cancer (The Crab).
Previously, Spitzer and other telescopes were able to study the planet by observing how the light from 55 Cancri changed as the planet passed in front of the star.
In the new study, Spitzer instead measured how much infrared light came from the planet itself – revealing some of the planet’s major features.
The good news is that 55 Cancri E does not have a hosepipe ban: 55 Cancri E is a water world: A rocky core surrounded by a layer of water in a "supercritical" state where it is both liquid and gas, and topped by a blanket of steam.