Water Vapor And Clouds Found In Atmosphere Of Warm Neptune

Posted: May 12 2017, 6:00am CDT | by , Updated: May 12 2017, 7:45am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Water Vapor and Sulfur-Rich clouds Found in Warm Neptune Atmosphere
The atmosphere of the distant 'warm Neptune' HAT-P-26b, illustrated here, is unexpectedly primitive, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. By combining observations from NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, researchers determined that, unlike Neptune and Uranus, the exoplanet has relatively low metallicity, an indication of the how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. Credit: NASA/GSFC
  • Astronomers spot Water Vapor and Clouds on Alien Planet

Astronomers have spotted water vapor and clouds on an alien planet which goes by the name of HAT-P-26b.

Astronomers have found traces of water vapor and clouds on a distant planet titled HAT-P-26b. The atmosphere of this alien world is mainly composed of hydrogen and helium to a greater extent than that of Neptune and Uranus.

The latter two planets in our solar system bear an uncanny resemblance to this alien planet as regards their massive size.

Thus a lot of variegation exists in the climate of this planet than was thought to have existed. This “Warm Neptune” planet, as it has been nicknamed, is smaller in size though than its moniker.

Studies into its atmosphere show that the way that solar systems undergo formation in outer space is a complex process. This planet is about 430 light years away from our own.

It goes in an orbit around its star within a time span that is equivalent to 4.2 earth days. It is locked as regards its tides thus showing the same side to its star.

Investigation into the workings of this alien world by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes show that the planet crosses its host star’s face from the angle of the telescopes.

Certain wavelengths were filtered out by the planet’s climate. Some of the molecules floating about in the atmosphere also include traces of water. This has caused the astronomers to perk up and take notice.

The signature molecules found on this planet make it a special object of interest for the researchers. While the gas giants in our own solar system have water on them, it has been a difficult proposal to find water on an exoplanet. Yet this planet has proven to be the exception to the rule.

There were clouds on this planet which were teeming with sulphur and the atmosphere contained water. The observation of this planet has yielded a rich cornucopia of facts that has forced the scientists to reverse some of the hypotheses they had dreamt up regarding exoplanets.

Greater insight has thus been gained regarding our own solar system and how it evolved from chaotic beginnings to the harmonious whole we see today.

The mosy surprising thing about this planet is that it is warm instead of cold. Some of the chemicals found on the planet have raised the hopes of the experts regarding the presence of life forms on it.

This research is published in the journal Science.

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