Water is being found on some surprisingly un-earthlike planets.
Earth, the blue planet, is our idea of a water world. But a planet doesn't have to be earthlike to have water. Using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, scientists found faint signals of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets. All five—HD 209458b, WASP-12b, WASP-17b, WASP-19b and XO-1b—are a type of exoplanet known as hot Jupiters, massive worlds that orbit very close to their stars. Although the planets were quite hazy, the researchers could tell that two of them had stronger water signals than the other three. Being able to compare planets this way is a key step in figuring out why some worlds wind up with plentiful water yet others don't. Watch the video to see an animation of a hot Jupiter orbiting its star.
Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Cover image courtesy of NASA/ESA/STScI/G. Bacon Video courtesy of ESA/Hubble HD 209458b image courtesy of NASA/ESA/CNRS/Alfred Vidal-Madjar WASP-12b image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech XO-1b image courtesy of NASA/ESA/STSci/G. Bacon
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