Since last week, 2015-discovered exoplanet K2-18b is prevailing, as it has become the first exoplanet where liquid water is detected in the atmosphere.
According to multiple analysis and telescopic observations, the exoplanet probably has a water-loaded atmosphere. These indications reveal that K2-18b is warmer and have significantly larger water bodies as compared to our Earth. Edward Guinan, an astronomer who was involved in the K2-18b-related study, has informed that although our Earth is covered with 71% water and 29% land, by mass the water content is less than 1%.
A team of scientists at UCL (University College London) has smartly detected the presence of water molecules in the planet’s atmosphere by using Hubble Space Telescope data. The team designed its open-source algorithms to detect the water molecules in the super-Earth. The UCL researchers applied those algorithms to assess the starlight to the observation point on Earth after passing through the exoplanet’s atmosphere.
Apart from water molecules, the team also detected hydrogen and helium gases in the atmosphere. The researchers are considering the presence of methane and nitrogen gases as well. The study findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
On a similar note, Anne-Marie Lagrange—the director at CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research)—and her colleagues have identified one more giant exoplanet orbiting around just a 23-million years old young star Beta Pictoris. It is the second brightest star of Pictoris constellation, which is at a distance of 63.4 light-years from our Sun. The first planet, Beta Pictoris b, was discovered over a decade back at ESO (the European Southern Observatory).
In comparison with Jupiter, Beta Pictoris is 10 X heavier and has a slightly smaller orbit. The orbiting time of the exoplanet is more than three times than the Earth’s, taking nearly 1,200 days for one revolution.
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