Possible life. The first super-earths found water

Возможна жизнь. На суперземле впервые нашли воду

K2-18b life possible

Distant planet K2-18b in the constellation of Leo will be the main object of the search for life outside our solar system.

Astronomers first discovered the water in the planet’s atmosphere, which is in the “habitable zone” of its star. Distant planet K2-18b in the constellation Leo today is the most habitable planet outside the Solar system known. Корреспондент.net tells details.


Hope to find a life outside Solnechnoy system

Astronomers analyzing data from the Hubble space telescope, first discovered in the atmosphere of super-earths traces of water vapor.

This discovery is noteworthy because the exoplanet K2-18b is located in the habitable zone of their stars and may have a rocky surface. Details of the discovery in an article published in the journal Nature Astronomy on 11 September.

But the star around which the planet rotates has a strong activity, causing exoplanet subjected to a powerful radiation flux. In this regard, the chances of habitability K2-18b are significantly reduced.

Despite this, the discovery raises hope that the planet K2-18b and other similar planets, exposed by scientists in recent years, not only have conditions suitable for life, but in some cases to be a habitat for living organisms.

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Observational campaigns of the last decade, carried out both by ground and space telescopes show that the water molecules are the most common type of molecules after the hydrogen in the atmosphere of hot gaseous exoplanets.

Planet K2-18b was discovered for the first time in 2015, the American space telescope Kepler. It is about two times larger than the Earth, and its mass exceeds the mass of the Earth eight times.

It revolves around a cool red dwarf, which is two times less than the Sun and located 110 light-years from it.

“This is the first potentially habitable planet, which is characterized by the desired temperature and which, as we now know there is water. This planet is still the best candidate for habitability”, – quotes the Guardian stronomy from University College London Angelos Tsiaras, whose team opened the water vapour from K2-18b.

Stars called red dwarfs emit much less heat compared to the Sun, but since K2-18b rotates close enough to its star, the temperature on its surface reaches 10 degrees Celsius.

K2-18b is at a distance of 22.5 million miles from its star is one-sixth of the distance from the earth to the Sun and makes a complete revolution in its orbit in just 33 days, that is year on this planet is a month on Earth.

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Astronomers have found that when K2-18b passed in front of its star, the wavelength of light absorbed by the water is suddenly decreased, and then increased as the movement of the planet. These data are considered to be conclusive proof of the presence of water vapor in the planet’s atmosphere.

Computer modeling suggests that up to 50 percent of this planet’s atmosphere consists of water.

But people can’t live on this planet due to the tough attraction that exceeds zemny eight times the weight of a person on the K2-18b would have reached half a ton. In addition, this super-earths are exposed to intense ultraviolet radiation.

Water found on other planets, but there, the temperature was either too low or too high to sustain life.

Astronomers say that K2-18b is the first such exoplanets atmosphere for traces of water, which makes it one of the main goals for the future infrared space telescope, the James Webb, which will investigate in detail the structure of its atmosphere, and the future space Observatory ARIEL, which should be launched in 2028.

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