Using state-of-the-art technology, a team of astronomers from the Keck Observatory has has detected water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet At 179 light years away from ours. Is about HR 8799 c, which is in the solar system that revolves around the star HR 8799.
In 2008, scientists announced that using Keck and Gemini telescopes they directly observed three exoplanets around the previously mentioned star: HR 8799b, c and d. Then, in 2010, they reported the discovery of a fourth planet, HR 8799 e.
Now, the study presented is based on data from 2008. The new observations with direct images are represented by HR 8779 c, a gigantic giant planet of gas about seven times the mass of Jupiter, the colossus of our solar system that lasts for 200 years in the orbit of his star.
The data obtained on this occasion, according to the authors, would confirm the presence of water in the atmosphere and also absence of methane in her.
— Technology —
To reach this conclusion, the researchers used a combining two Keck technologies with a telescope. The first is adaptive optics that counteract the diffuse effects of Earth's atmosphere. The second is a Spectrograph Cryogenic Cryogenic Near (NIRSPEC) spectrometer in the Keck 2 telescope, a high-resolution infrared light-spectrum spectrometer.
According to Dimitri Mawet, a professor at Caltech and co-author of the study, he explained:
"This kind of technology is exactly what we want to use in the future to look for signs of life on a planet similar to Earth. We are not there yet, but we are going forward."
— Research —
The new findings were published in the journal Astronomic Journal. The lead author is Ji Wang, former post-doctoral college at Caltech, and now an assistant professor at Ohio State University.
So far, astronomers have directly photographed more than a dozen exoplanets. The HR 8799 system is the first multiplanar system to directly capture images. But this is only the first step in this study.
Once taken, the images can be analyzed for the chemical composition in the atmosphere. Here comes the spectroscopy. In this case, the refined competencies of NIRSPEC were essential.
NIRSPEC is a tool that works in the infrared band L. It is a type of infrared light with a wavelength of approximately 3.5 micrometers and a spectrum region with detailed detailed chemical specimens.
"The band L was last time because the sky is brighter at this wavelength, if you were an alien with your eyes in agreement with the band L, you would see an extremely bright sky, it's hard to see exoplanets through this veil," he explains Mawet.
By combining the band with adaptive optics they have been able to make the most accurate measurements of the planet, thus confirming the presence of water and the absence of methane.
With information from Univers Today and Busness Insider