Space

Astronomers discovered water in the atmosphere of the planet in 179 light years from us.

In 2008, astronomers reported finding three exoplanets in the HR 8799 stellar system using the Keck and Gemini telescopes, and two years later another. One of these exoplanets (HR 8799 c) is a gas giant that is 7 times larger than our Jupiter. New direct observations of this planet showed the presence of water in the atmosphere and the absence of methane.

New observations are a combination of two telescopic technologies at the Keck Observatory. The first is adaptive optics. It eliminates the blur effect created by the atmosphere of the Earth. The second is the high resolution spectrometer NIRSPEC, which operates in infrared light.

WM KECK OBSERVATORY / ADAM MAKARENKO / C. ALVAREZ

JPL laboratory researcher and Dimitri Mowet, a professor of astronomy at Caltech, believes that this bundle of technologies is exactly what humanity will use in the future to search for signs of life on other planets.

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