Water found on planet outside Solar System

Water has been discovered on a planet outside our solar system for the first time - giving scientists a tantalising hint of life existing beyond the Earth.

The planet, known as HD189733b, is a Jupiter like gas giant which is about 60 light years away in the constellation of Vulpeca the Fox.

Giovanna Tinetti, a European Space Agency fellow at the Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris in France who led the study said ''We're thrilled to have identified clear signs of water on a planet that is trillions of miles away''.

HD 189733b is known as a ''hot Jupiter'' planet -- like the solar system's gas planet. It is similar to Jupiter but far hotter.

Researchers have observed that absorption by water vapour is the most likely cause of the wavelength-dependent variations in the effective radius of the planet at the infrared wavelengths.

Astronomer Heather Knutson of Harvard University said that the findings contradicted the earlier studies showing no evidence of water.Knutson reviewed the findings in the same issue of Nature.

Knutson also mentioned that however, the earlier studies looked at light emitted from the day side of the planet while the latest research used a different method that measured light transmitted through the outer edges of the planet's atmosphere.

She said that this suggested there might be something hiding a water signal in the previous measurements.

''In the long term we could evaluate other planets that could support life and have water in their atmosphere,'' Knutson said.

Source: DDNEWS India

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