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Space & Astronomy

Water discovered in exoplanet's atmosphere

September 24, 2014 | Comment icon 13 comments



The discovery used Hubble’s wide field camera. Image Credit: NASA / JSC
Astronomers have found signs of water vapor on a planet located around 120 light years from Earth.
The Neptune-sized world known as HAT-P-11b can be found within the constellation of Cygnus and is believed to have an atmosphere comprised of mostly hydrogen along with 25% water vapor.

Like many extrasolar planets this distant world is located quite close to its parent star meaning that one year is the equivalent to five days on Earth. It is also much hotter than our own planet with surface temperatures averaging out at 600C.
Despite this however the planet represents a significant step forward in the search for habitable Earth-like worlds and in the use of spectroscopic techniques to locate signs of water.

"Although this planet is not classically habitable, it reveals to us that when we find Earth 2.0, we will be able to use this technique, transmission spectroscopy, to understand its atmosphere and determine the quality of life available on its shores," said graduate student Jonathan Fraine.

"Now we know that not all warm Neptunes form with high-altitude clouds, we can again explore the diversity of planet formation and gain greater context for our own creation."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (13)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
Soi this is different to the one posted a few weeks ago then?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 8 years ago
Soi this is different to the one posted a few weeks ago then? Yes, because that wasn't a planet, it was a brown dwarf (see HERE).
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Quite interesting. I wonder how much oxygen is left? Maybe more water will be formed. To use the punchline from an old joke, when we send an expedition, we'll to go at night because it's too hot during the day.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Twin 8 years ago
Just one small point to consider before launching an expedition; even at 150,000 miles per hr. it will take about 537,000 years to get there.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Mikenator 8 years ago
does anyone ever wonder why the planets are so far away from each other I wonder if they were all near each other at one time like the continents were on the planet Earth were all one piece of land but broke apart and separated I wonder if the planets were near each other and separated for some reason as the universe grew for all we know the planets might have been closer to each other like in visiting range within a few days travel it would have been cool to go to other planets for vacations and hang with the alien Bros (0..0)
Comment icon #9 Posted by bobb73 8 years ago
What? No 7 day forecast?
Comment icon #10 Posted by snop1x 8 years ago
my water just broke
Comment icon #11 Posted by Yes_Man 8 years ago
Just one small point to consider before launching an expedition; even at 150,000 miles per hr. it will take about 537,000 years to get there. its not that, the mission is to see if there any other planets like Earth or near enough. Not going there. Anyway development and research of fuels and engines could shorten flight time in future.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Yes_Man 8 years ago
does anyone ever wonder why the planets are so far away from each other I wonder if they were all near each other at one time like the continents were on the planet Earth were all one piece of land but broke apart and separated I wonder if the planets were near each other and separated for some reason as the universe grew for all we know the planets might have been closer to each other like in visiting range within a few days travel it would have been cool to go to other planets for vacations and hang with the alien Bros (0..0) Mars is visiting range
Comment icon #13 Posted by alfonso 8 years ago
does anyone ever wonder why the planets are so far away from each other I wonder if they were all near each other at one time like the continents were on the planet Earth were all one piece of land but broke apart and separated I wonder if the planets were near each other and separated for some reason as the universe grew for all we know the planets might have been closer to each other like in visiting range within a few days travel it would have been cool to go to other planets for vacations and hang with the alien Bros (0..0) maybe the planets are not that far away from each other.. in our g... [More]


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