According to the portal livescience.com, Canadian astronomers were able to find a potentially habitable planet on which it is very likely that it rains the human eye. However, despite the fact that the found planet K2 18b is officially recognized as one of the most probable worlds for the origin of alien life, some conditions on its surface are forcing scientists to seriously review their hastily accepted statement. So what's wrong with this distant exoplanet?
What does the twin planet of the Earth look like?
The world of K2 18b is an unusual twin of our planet. Data from space telescopes and numerous computer models show that the atmosphere of this exoplanet does indeed contain large amounts of water vapor, which can become the key to a successful search for alien life. Astronomers first noticed the planet in 2015, using the Kepler telescope to detect it. It was then that it turned out that K2 18b revolves around its red dwarf star at a distance that just falls under the definition of the “Goldilocks zone”, making the world potentially 111 inhabited by 111 light years from the Sun.
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In order to understand whether on the planetany atmosphere, a group of Canadian astronomers decided to study the discovered world with the Hubble telescope at the moment when K2 18b passed in front of its star, while absorbing part of its radiation. Based on data on what wavelengths of starlight the hypothetical atmosphere of an exoplanet absorbs, experts are able to determine the composition of its constituent molecules. So, thanks to the analysis of the data obtained, astronomers were able to determine that the distant world really has an atmosphere consisting of water vapor, hydrogen and helium.
Angelos Ciaras, an astronomer from the UniversityCollege of London, claims that all the planets in which mankind at least once observed the atmosphere with water vapor, by their nature, were gas giants such as Jupiter or Saturn. Exoplanet K218 b in this regard may be the most real exception to the rule due to its unique location relative to its star, size and presence of a watery atmosphere.
Combining data from the Spitzer, Hubble andKepler, scientists have received unique information about the characteristics of the atmosphere of the exoplanet. It is known that clouds fly over a distant exoplanet, which form at a certain point K2 18b. Knowing the location of this climatic feature, scientists were able to conclude that the place that “produces” exoplanet clouds has the correct pressure and temperature for the formation of liquid water and its condensation in the form of rain.
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Despite the fact that the planet was successfulrain is proven, researchers believe that local raindrops can never reach the surface of the planet. The fact is that K2 18b may simply not have solid soil due to its extremely low average density, which immediately puts the exoplanet on a par with the so-called class of mini-Neptunes.
Despite all doubts about the distantexoplanets, scientists hope that the launch of a new generation telescope by James Webb will be able to open the veil of secrecy surrounding K2 18b. Is the exoplanet really an ordinary gas or water world, or are we dealing with some other, yet unstudied state of matter? Well, time will tell. In the meantime, I suggest you subscribe to our channel in Yandex.Zen, where you can find even more useful information from the world of science.