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Tech & Science Large rocky planet 124 light years away from Earth appears to be covered in WATER and 'could have right conditions to sustain alien life'

03:30  27 february  2020
03:30  27 february  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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The planet is 124 light - years away in the constellation Leo and is about eight times as big as Earth . This "Super Earth " is the right distance from its star to conceivably harbor life . The planet , called K2-18b, was discovered in 2015 and is one of hundreds of Super Earths – planets with a mass bigger

Last year , astronomers announced they'd spotted water vapor in the atmosphere of an exoplanet K2-18b orbits a dwarf star 124 light - years away and is estimated to be larger than Earth (8.6 times our Beyond having the right temperatures, a world also needs an atmosphere with the right pressures to

a view of the earth from space: Artist's impression of K2-18b with its potentially vast oceans and lakes across the 'waterworld' planet - it may contain signs of life © Provided by Daily Mail Artist's impression of K2-18b with its potentially vast oceans and lakes across the 'waterworld' planet - it may contain signs of life A large rocky planet twice the size of the Earth has been discovered orbiting inside its star's habitable zone and could have the right conditions to sustain alien life.

The exoplanet, called K2-18b, is 124 light years away appears to be covered in water, according to researchers from Cambridge University.

While they can't tell whether there is life on the planet now, by the end of the decade scientists think new telescopes will be able to spot the gases made by alien species.

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The miniature planetary system is just 40 light - years away from Earth . Now, evidence is building that two of these planets could be the perfect place for alien life . By looking at the system through the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have deduced that the innermost planets are rocky , like our

Computer models suggest an ocean world - with liquid water below the atmosphere at pressures and temperatures similar to those found in our seas.

Last autumn two different teams of astronomers detected water vapour encircling the exoplanet and new analysis hints at a life supporting ecosystem.

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A rocky planet that may harbour life has been discovered just four light years from Earth - close enough to be reached by future space missions. While four light years is a long way - more than 25 trillion miles - future generations of super-fast space craft could conceivably travel to the planet within

The Earth -like planet that could be covered in oceans and may support life is 20.5 light . years away , and has the right temperature to allow liquid water on its surface. This remarkable discovery appears to confirm the suspicions of most astronomers that the universe is swarming with Earth -like worlds.

The Cambridge team confirmed the atmosphere is hydrogen-rich with a significant amount of water vapour but levels of other chemicals such as methane and ammonia were lower than expected.

The next generation of space telescopes being launched this decade will be able to investigate if this is down to biological processes.

If the lower levels of methane and ammonia are due to biological processes then it is likely that planet contains active life of one form or another.

Lead author Dr Nikku Madhusudhan said water vapour has been detected in the atmosphere of a number of exoplanets studied so far.

'Even if the planet is in the habitable zone, that doesn't necessarily mean there are habitable conditions on the surface,' Madhusudhan said.

'To establish the prospects for habitability, it's important to obtain a unified understanding of the interior and atmospheric conditions on the planet - in particular, whether liquid water can exist beneath the atmosphere.'

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The habitable super- Earth appears to be a large , rocky planet with a surface temperature of about 72°F (22° Each of the planets , which orbit a dwarf star just 39 million light years , likely holds water at its The planet is 60 per cent larger in diameter than Earth and is 1,400 light years away in the

The planet is in constellation Cassiopeia, 21 light years from Earth . At 21 light - years away , the planet is the closest outside of our solar system that crosses, or transits, its star = a Wendy William appears to go Instagram official with jeweler boyfriend William Selby after giving him cold shoulder

The researchers determined the composition and structure of both the atmosphere and interior for the first time using existing observations.

They used detailed numerical and statistical models and took into account its radius and mass. These are 2.6 and 8.6 times greater than Earth's, respectively.

K2-18b is in a planet category known as a 'super Earth' - and has a temperature cool enough to have liquid water, between 32F and 104F - similar to Earth.

Given its size it's been suggested it's more like a small Neptune than a large Earth.

This is likely to cause it to have a significant hydrogen 'envelope' surrounding a layer of high-pressure water - with an inner core of rock and iron.

If the hydrogen envelope is too thick, the temperature and pressure at the surface of the water layer beneath would be far too great to support life.

However, the latest findings, published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, show that is not the case and it is more likely closer to Earth's atmosphere.

Co-author Matthew Nixon said: 'We wanted to know the thickness of the hydrogen envelope - how deep the hydrogen goes.

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'While this is a question with multiple solutions, we've shown you don't need much hydrogen to explain all the observations together.'

The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch in 2021 and will help astronomers discover the conditions on exoplanets and possibly find signs of life © Provided by Daily Mail The James Webb Space Telescope is due to launch in 2021 and will help astronomers discover the conditions on exoplanets and possibly find signs of life

The researchers found the maximum extent of the hydrogen envelope allowed by the data is around six per cent of the planet's mass.

The minimum amount of hydrogen is similar to the Earth's atmosphere.

In particular a 'number of scenarios allow for an ocean world,' said the researchers.

The study will also enable the search for habitable conditions and signs of life on planets outside the solar system that are much bigger than Earth.

Additionally, planets such as K2-18b are more accessible to atmospheric observations with current and future facilities.

The techniques used by the Cambridge experts can be refined further by using future observations from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.

The much anticipated space-based observatory is being launched next year to accelerate the search for alien life.

The findings have been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.


Earth Could Have Once Been a Waterworld Covered by a Global Ocean, Study Suggests .
When it was very young, the planet Earth looked rather different from the one we know and love today. For one, it had supercontinents - when the landmasses we currently live on were arranged in various configurations as they were pushed around by tectonic movements. But there may have been a period when there were very few or no landmasses at all, and Earth was a soggy waterworld, according to new research. Evidence found in the geologic record suggests that, around 3.2 billion years ago, our currently 4.5-billion-year-old homeworld was covered by a global ocean.If confirmed, such a finding could help to resolve questions around how life emerged roughly 3.

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