Explained: What is K2-18b?
Artist’s impression of K2-18b and its host star. (M Kornmesser, ESA/Hubble, by way of NASA)

About 110 gentle years from Earth, an exoplanet eight occasions the mass of Earth orbits a star. Referred to as K2-18b, it was found in 2015 by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. It resides in a liveable zone — the area round a star through which liquid water might probably pool on the floor of a rocky planet.

Now, scientists have discovered signatures of water vapour within the environment of K2-18b. That makes it the one planet orbiting a star outdoors the Photo voltaic System that’s recognized to have each water and temperatures that would help life.

Its environment was studied by astronomers on the College Faculty London (UCL). The outcomes are printed in Nature Astronomy.

The invention of water vapour shouldn’t be the ultimate phrase on the potential for life. For one factor, K2-18b’s measurement and floor gravity are a lot bigger than Earth’s. Its radiation atmosphere, too, perhaps hostile.

“K2-18b is not ‘Earth 2.0’ as it is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition. However, it brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique?” research first writer Dr Angelos Tsiaras mentioned in a press release issued by UCL.

The researchers used 2016-17 knowledge from the Hubble House Telescope and developed algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered by means of K2-18b’s environment. The outcomes revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, additionally indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium within the planet’s environment.

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