Space telescope “Hubble” found five exoplanets with water in the atmosphere




Scientists have found the first conclusive evidence for the presence of water in the atmosphere of planets orbiting other stars. Due to space telescope “Hubble”, two teams of astronomers have found weak but clear signs of the presence of water in the atmosphere of the five newly discovered exoplanets. All five belong to a class of planets “hot Jupiters” because are very close to their mother stars.

“Usually in the atmosphere to detect exoplanets is very challenging. However, we managed to get a very clear signal the presence of water, “- says Drake Deming of the University of Maryland, the lead author, who has described the atmosphere of two of the five detected planets.

“We are absolutely convinced there is evidence of water on several planets” – continues Evie Mendel, a planetary scientist at the Center Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, and the author’s published work on the detection of the remaining three new planets.

“This investigation opens the door for us to be able to compare the amount of water present in the atmosphere of various kinds ekzoplaet, eg warmer or colder.”


WASP-17b in the representation of the artist

Scientists had studied all five planets and, unfortunately, came to the conclusion that none of them are not suitable for life – not allow extreme temperatures and extremely adverse conditions. WASP-17b – a very unusual planet. It has a retrograde orbit (turns clockwise around its star when she – counterclockwise), and in its atmosphere are rich signs of sodium.

HD 209458b

Planet HD209458b in the representation of the artist

HD209458b is a very lush planet. Strongest wind passing in storms, as well as organic molecules and water has been discovered by scientists in the framework of previous studies.


The planet WASP-12b in the representation of the artist

In the atmosphere of the planet WASP-12b was discovered rich deposits of carbon and water. WASP-19b rotates closest to its star and has one of the shortest orbital periods of any planetary object ever discovered. He is 0.7888399, or about 18,932 hours. Honor the planet XO-1b should be mentioned that she was discovered by amateur astronomers.


Planet XO-1b (right) in comparison with Jupiter (left)

Scientists have studied all of the planet and came to the conclusion that the planet WASP-17b and HD209458b are the strongest signs of water. Current technologies allow studying exoplanets only when they pass in front of its star. Due to this, scientists can determine the presence of different gases in the composition of the atmosphere, by measuring the wavelengths of light which pass through it. However, in the new study, the research team used a new analysis technique, which allows to increase the time and precision of measurements.

For both studies, the researchers used a “wide-angle camera 3” space telescope “Hubble”. Astronomers observed the atmosphere over a wide wavelength range, trying to detect signs of the presence of water. And they did it by comparing the amount of refraction and absorption of light of each of the test atmosphere of planets.

“These studies, in conjunction with observations” Hubble “, show us that the universe has a huge number of systems on planets where there is water in one form or another,” – says Heather Knutson of the California Institute of Technology and one of the study’s authors.

“In addition, they allow us to the assumption that the planet rich in clouds and dense atmosphere, most can be classified as” hot Jupiters. ”

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Tags: Hubble Space Telescope , Exoplanets


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