London: In what can be called as major breakthrough in the field of Astronomical discovery, astronomers have for the first time discovered water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with Earth-like temperatures that could support life.
The exoplanet named as K2-18b is conjectured to be eight times the mass of Earth, is now the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System, or ‘exoplanet’, known to have both water and temperatures that could be potentially habitable, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The planet orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18, which is about 110 light years from Earth in the Leo constellation, researchers said.
The results obtained from archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the ESA/NSA Hubble Space telescope developed an open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. Researchers believe that other molecules including nitrogen and methane may be present but, with current observations they remain undetectable.