- Katie Huang
Water Vapor Found in Another Planet’s Atmosphere
The astronomers at the University of Kansas presented research today that there was a water vapor found in the atmosphere of a Neptune-sized exoplanet about 150 light-years from Earth. The planet is surrounded by gas and it is not supported for alien life.
Even though the planet is not able to support life, the scientists claimed that this findings can help them demonstrate how a planet came to be and compare it to other familiar planets that are close to home.
"This planet is a little bigger than our Neptune, but it's very, very different," said Jonathan Brande, a doctoral student in physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, who led the research. Besides that, this is not the first time scientists have found water vapor. In 2019, the Hubble Space Telescope found water vapor on a distant planet known as K2-18b, which is in the "habitable zone" of its parent star, where conditions are such that liquid water could exist on the planet's surface.
Ian Crossfield, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Kansas, said the water vapor discovery offers "just a foretaste" of what astronomers will be able to learn about exoplanet atmospheres with the Webb telescope. The researchers plan to continue studying TOI-674 b and hope to gain more insights into its atmosphere.