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First water detected on potentially ‘habitable’ planet

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor September 12, 2019 13:13

First water detected on potentially ‘habitable’ planet

For the first time scientists have identified liquid water on a planet outside the solar system, suggesting it could support life. The team at UCL (University College London) detected water vapour in the atmosphere of K2-18b, a so-called ‘super-Earth’ with habitable temperatures. The team used the Hubble Space Telescope to analyse starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The team say their research, published Wednesday (Sep 11) in Nature Astronomy, brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique? The planet orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18 in the Leo constellation and is likely to be exposed to more radiation than Earth. K2-18b is one of hundreds of super-Earths – planets with a mass between Earth and Neptune – that we have discovered. The next generation of space telescopes, including the European Space Agency’s ARIEL mission, will be able to characterise atmospheres in more detail as they will carry more advanced instruments.

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor September 12, 2019 13:13

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