Space exploration is going on, and as time passes, astronomers get the opportunity to ‘dig’ further into the depths of the universe. One of the most promising recent discoveries revealed the signs of water in the atmosphere of distant extrasolar planets.
Two teams of scientists led by Avi Mandell of NASA’s Goddard Center and Drake Deming of the University of Maryland, using the space telescope “Hubble”, detected water in the atmosphere of five exoplanets, specifically WASP-17b, WASP-12b, WASP- 19b, HD209458b, and XO-1b.
These exoplanets are classified as “hot Jupiters” and are rotating in close proximity to their stars.
The presence of water vapor was indicated by infrared wide-angle camera shots of the ‘Hubble’ WFC3. When a planet is in the field of view of the ‘Hubble’ in front of its star, some radiation of the star is absorbed and some of it continues spreading, depending on the composition of the atmosphere.
After analyzing the features of the absorption of radiation by the atmosphere of exoplanets, scientists discovered that they have water vapor.
“We are sure to have found traces of water on several planets. This research opens up the possibility to compare the quantity of water in the atmosphere of extrasolar planets of different types”, says Avi Mandell.
However, water vapor in the atmospheres of the five planets is observed not as clearly as expected. According to the scientists, atmospheric haze or dust prevents the observations, reducing the intensity of the signals coming from the atmosphere, just as the fog dims color in the picture.
It is not the first time when scientists find water in the atmosphere of exoplanets, but the results of these observations for the first time make it possible to measure and compare the nature of the absorption and emission of signals from several extrasolar planets.
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