Researchers Find Less Amount of Water on Three Earth-Like Planets

Researchers Find Less Amount of Water on Three Earth-Like Planets

Three Jupiter-sized exoplanets have been found to have only one-tenth to one one-thousandth of water than previously thought. Results of the study have disappointed researchers because they were considering these planets to have enough water to support life, but after using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, they found the planets nearly dry.

HD 189733b, HD 209458b, and WASP-12b are the three planets in question and they are located between 60 and 900 light-years away from Earth. Since they have high temperature and orbit stars like our Sun, scientists were of very strong belief that they are ideal candidates for detecting water vapor in their atmospheres.

"It basically opens a whole can of worms in planet formation. We expected all these planets to have lots of water in them. We have to revisit planet formation and migration models of giant planets, especially 'hot Jupiters' and investigate how they're formed", said Nikku Madhusudhan of the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge, England.

Madhusudhan, the study leader, said the study findings have forced them to look once again into exoplanet theory. An exoplanet or extrasolar planet orbits a star, other than our Sun and scientists have discovered 1800 of them as of now.

The Hubble Telescope is very much needed to make such observations, said Nicolas Crouzet of the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study.

The study has helped researchers know that water features can be a lot weaker on exoplanets than what they expect. Madhusudhan concluded that there are so many things to be known about exoplanets in addition to how planets and solar systems form.

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