Traces Of Water Discovered Across Exoplanet Atmospheres


Two teams of space scientists have discovered the presence of atmospheric water across the five distant planets. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was the tool employed by the teams for the exploration mission.

WASP-17b, HD209458b, WASP-12b, WASP-19b and XO-1b were the planets that were under observation. WASP-17b and HD209458b gave the strongest signal of water content present in their atmosphere while the others showed consistency.

Avi Mandell, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt says,

We’re very confident that we see a water signature for multiple planets. This work really opens the door for comparing how much water is present in atmospheres on different kinds of exoplanets, for example hotter versus cooler ones.

The researches were a major part of survey, which was being conducted on the exoplanet atmospheres. Both the teams investigated the aspects of light assimilation across the planets’ atmosphere with the help of Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.

Intensities of the absorption profiles and the consistency of the signatures, which the researchers deduced from their observations, made in a range of infrared wavelengths lead them to affirm that there is presence of water in the exoplanet atmospheres.

Talking about the intensities of water signal, researchers said that they might have received less water signals because of the presence of dust surrounding the five planets. Comparing it to the fog that we experience on earth, they asserted, it might have created haziness in the profile of water molecules that they received via Hubble camera.

Presence of water hints life and since space scientists have been able to discover water traces across the exoplanet atmosphere it surely means life or the existence of the other worlds, wow!

Source: NASA

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