Experts at Keck Observatory in Maunakea, Hawaii investigated HR 8799c, a gas plane and made the discovery New Delhi :…
New Delhi : In an attempt to search for alien life outside the Earth, astronomers have discovered water in the atmosphere of a planet 179 light years away.
Experts at Keck Observatory in Maunakea, Hawaii investigated HR 8799c, a gas plane and made the discovery. The planet is seven times as big as Jupiter. It is one of four that encircles the HR 8799 star, found 179 light years away in constellation Pegasus.
During the investigation, astronomers used state-of-the-art instrumentation to confirm the presence of water and lack of methane in the atmosphere of the planet here. The combined highl Sande spectroscopy, a technology called adaptive optics, which simplified the blurring effect of the earth’s atmosphere.
Astronomers used instruments called spectrometers to break up the planet’s light when a photograph of the planet has been taken.
The technique revealed a fingerprint of the chemicals in the atmosphere, which is possible thanks to a Keck 2 telescope spectrometer, called Near Infrared Cryogenic Echelle Spectrograph (NIRSPEC).
“This kind of technique is just what we want to use the future to look for signs of life on a soillike planet,” said Dimitri Mawet, astronomy professor at Caltech.
“We’re not there yet, but we’re marching forward.”
According to the record, the HR 8799 has so far been the only multi-plane solar system that has taken its picture. Astronomers are now planning to repeat the process for all the smaller planets closer to their stars.
Researchers at the Keck Observatory wrote that they should look for chemicals that signal a habitable atmosphere for life on earthlike planets like water, oxygen and methane.
It is expected that more new earthlike planets can be discovered when the 30 meter telescope is completed by 2020.