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If you’re someone hoping aliens exist, the discovery of rocky, potentially habitable planets circling distant stars counts among the most exciting developments of the last few decades. To better understand these worlds and look for signs of life, scientists largely rely on spectroscopy to determine the chemicals in the planets’ atmospheres. New research shows that flares and other stellar weather can have serious impacts on some exoplanets’ atmospheric chemistry—and in some cases that could make evidence of life easier to spot (Nature Astron. 2020, DOI: 10.1038/s41550-020-01264-1).

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