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Water vapour found on exo-planet

New Delhi, Thu, 12 Jul 2007 NI Wire

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July12: Astronomers have assumed that the existence of water is also present beyond our solar system as Nasa’s powerful Spitzer Space Telescope detected the sign of water in an extrasolar planet in the form of vapor.

The astronomer’s team of NASA has looked the signal of water absorption pulling through the edges from the atmosphere in the starlight in HD 189733, an extrasolar planet passing through before its star.

This exoplanet is estimated bigger than Jupiter, the biggest planet of our solar system. This giant extraplanet is named as HD 189733b, which is 64 light years far from our Sun. HD 189733b orbits a star in the group of Vulpecula (the Fox). Its orbit range is 30 times closer to its parent star than the Earth to the Sun. Nasa has reported it to a famous Science journal ‘Nature’.

This planet is too hot to living organism. So there is no chance of any life existence. The temperature varies in dayside and nightside. In the dayside, it reaches 930 degree Celsius while in the nightside it is little mild, but 427 degree Celsius, that is not possible for life. This type of planet is known as a "hot Jupiter". The scientists have detected the existence of water only just two times so far, first in HD 209458b and second in HD 189733b beyond our galaxy.

Giovanna Tinetti, the scholar of University College London along with her colleagues, has measured the radius of the hot Jupiter HD 189733b at different wavelengths. She tracked the measure of starlight blocked by the planet as it crosses in front of its parent star as viewed from Earth.

The planet seems bigger when it is measured through the wavelength bands that indicate the presence of water in the vapour form in its atmosphere. However some critics have argued that the criteria of detecting water may be wrong and creates illusion about the existence of water.

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