Astronomers discover water vapour in atmosphere of distant planet K2-18b


Astronomers at the University College London have for the first time discovered water vapour in the atmosphere of a distant planet called K2-18b.

Astronomers used data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make the discovery. They yesterday published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy.

The lead scientist of the University, Prof. Giovanna Tinetti said it is the first time that they have detected water on a planet in the habitable zone around a star where the temperature is potentially compatible with the presence of life.

Another astronomer Angelos Tsiaras said, it has an atmosphere, and it has water in it-making this planet the best candidate for habitability that we know right now.

The exoplanet, known as K2-18b, is eight times the mass of Earth and known as a super-Earth, or exoplanets between the mass of Earth and Neptune. It orbits a red dwarf star 110 light-years away from Earth in the Leo constellation. The planet was first discovered in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. An exoplanet refers to a planet beyond our solar system.

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