What they found suggests that the composition of K2-18b's atmosphere could range from 0.1 percent water vapor (about the proportion in Earth's upper atmosphere) to a whopping 50 percent.
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Planet K2-18 b sits some 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo, and it orbits a rather small red dwarf star that's roughly one-third the mass of our own Sun. "It is highly unlikely that this world is habitable in any way that we understand based on life as we know it", the Space Telescope Science Institute's Hannah Wakeford told Nature.
Tsiaras and his colleagues published their results yesterday (Sept. 11) in the journal Nature Astronomy. This all means you shouldn't assume it has life as we know it: there's just the potential for it.More news: 'KUWTK': Khloe Kardashian Confronts Kris Jenner for Lamar Odom Rumors
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An Earth mark II K2-18 b may not be, but the exoplanet does make an excellent target for follow-up observations, which in turn will provide further insights into the composition and climate of habitable-zone planets. The team led by Björn Benneke, an exoplanet researcher from the Université de Montréal and lead author on the arXiv paper, also had access to data from the Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes.
Still, it's rare to glimpse evidence of water in another planet's atmosphere, and that alone should help spark enough interest in keeping these types of studies going when the next decade's technologies go online. In addition, Mr. sche on the planet a temperature that is of the earth is very similar. But unlike other giant exoplanets on which atmospheric water has been detected, K2-18b is a super-Earth.More news: Houston Astros at Washington Nationals
Within 10 years, new space telescopes might be able to determine whether K2-18b's atmosphere contains gases that could be produced by living organisms. The total amount of solar irradiation that Earth and K2-18b receive is approximately equal.
Even if they did, most Earth-like planets are too far from their stars to have liquid water or so close that any H2O has evaporated. When stellar light moves through a planet's atmosphere, it becomes scattered by the presence of different atmospheric elements and compounds.
Although the precise composition of the atmosphere can not be extracted - Hubble is brilliant, but its not technically capable of determining chemical signatures like other dedicated telescopes - the authors modelled different scenarios to find the best fit possible with their data. NASA's TESS mission is expected to detect hundreds more super-Earths in the coming years. This technique measures the difference in stellar light filtered through the atmosphere of the planet with that of the "normal" star light to ascertain any differences. Currently, water remains a necessary condition for the existence of life according to exobiologists, until a completely different form of life is identified.
The planet is a lot closer to its star than Earth is to our sun, meaning it only takes around 33 days to transit.
Researchers must wait for more sophisticated tools, such as the long-delayed James Webb Space Telescope, to reveal more details about the distant world.More news: Why Labour Are Refusing To Back Boris Johnson's General Election Plan