According to the livescience.com portal, Canadian astronomers have been able to find a potentially inhabited planet that is very likely to rain on the human eye. 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 examine their hastily accepted message. So, what's up with this distant exoplanet?
What does the Earth's twin planet 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 actually contains large amounts of water vapor, which can become the key to a successful search for someone else's life. Astronomers first noticed the planet in 2015 when they discovered it using the Kepler telescope. At that time, K2 18b turned out to be at a distance around its red dwarf star, which falls just under the definition of the "Goldilocks Zone," potentially occupying the world 111 light-years from the sun.
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To understand if there is an atmosphere on the planet, a group of Canadian astronomers decided to explore the discovered world with the Hubble telescope as K2 18b drove past its star, absorbing some of its radiation. Based on data on which wavelengths of starlight absorb the hypothetical atmosphere of an exoplanet, experts can determine the composition of the molecules contained within. Thanks to the analysis of the data obtained, astronomers have discovered that the distant world actually has an atmosphere of water vapor, hydrogen and helium.
Angelos Ciaras, an astronomer at University College London, claims that all the planets on which humankind at least once observed the atmosphere with water vapor were by nature gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn. Exoplanet K218 b may be the real exception to the rule in this regard as it has a unique position in terms of its star, size and presence of an aqueous atmosphere.
By combining data from the Spitzer, Hubble, and Kepler telescopes, scientists have obtained unique information about the properties of the exoplanet's atmosphere. It is known that clouds fly over a distant exoplanet that forms at a certain point K2 18b. Knowing the location of this climate, the scientists concluded that the place where exoplanet clouds are created has the right 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 rain has been successfully detected on the planet, researchers believe that local raindrops can never reach the surface of the planet. In fact, because of its extremely low average density, K2 18b may simply not have solid ground, which equates the exoplanet immediately to the so-called mini-neptune class.
Despite all doubts about the distant exoplanet, the scientists hope that the launch of the new-generation telescope by James Webb will open the veil of secrecy around K2 18b. Is the exoplanet really an ordinary gas or water world, or are we dealing with another, unexplored state of matter? Well, time will tell. In the meantime, we recommend that you subscribe to our channel in Yandex.Zen, where you will find more useful information from the world of science.