The existence of water is confirmed on the smallest size planet so far

ByNASA Goddard Space Flight Center

123 light years away from the earthExtrasolar planetThe presence of molecules of water in the atmosphere ofHubble Space TelescopeAs a result of the survey using the etc, it became clear. In this research, the smallest planet among the celestial bodies whose existence has been conventionally confirmed has been found, and at the same time, a method to further advance the planetary exploration is confirmed.

Water found in a Neptune-sized exoplanet's atmosphere | Ars Technica

The presence of water was confirmed in the planet located in the direction of the Statue ofKepler 3b"is. Its size is 4.7 times the radius compared to the Earth, and it is a heavenly body with 26 times the mass, which is the smallest among the planets where the presence of water has been confirmed so far.

It is said that 16.1 light-years from EarthThere is almost the same air and temperature as the earth on a planet in the noseIt is possible to exist and the existence of lifeHabitable zoneWithinEarth-sized planet existsIt is discovered that the discovery related to Kepler 3b confirmed a method for greatly advancing the future exploration of the Earth-type planet.

In the survey,Hubble Space TelescopeIn addition toSpitzer Space TelescopeandKepler probeWas used to analyze the composition of the atmosphere in detail by observing the change in light that occurs when Kepler 3 b crosses the front of a fixed star.

The obstacle to exploration was the presence of "clouds" due to gases present in the atmosphere of the planet.

In the analysis of the atmosphere of the planet, as the light emitted from a fixed star passes through the atmosphere of the planet, light moleculesSpectrumThe observation of changes in the surface of the planet was observed, but when the surface of the planet was covered with gas clouds, this observation was sometimes difficult. Since there were few layers of this cloud in Kepler 3b this time, the existence of water molecules was clarified by analyzing the composition of the atmosphere.

Likewise, the obstacle to observation is the change in the amount of light due to the sunspots occurring in the stars. Observation machines equipped with very high precision optical sensors can also sense the change in light intensity due to the occurrence of black dots, but there are cases where this change shows the same signs as the change indicating the presence of water I say that.

ByAlessandro Strano

In order to solve this problem, the research team observed the light of different wavelengths at the same timing with the two observation planes facing the same planet. As a result, we succeeded in eliminating the influence by separating the change of light due to the sunspot activity, and the existence of water in Kepler 3b was again assured.

The important role in this observation was attached to the Hubble Space Telescope in 2009WFC 3(Wide field camera 3) that it was the latest equipment called. For the Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990, it is the fourth generation equipment and at the same time WFC 3, which was introduced as the last improvement in its mission, enables observation of a wider range of outer space than before, It is expected to expand the investigation of.

The Hubble Space Telescope, which will soon complete its mission, is gradually lowering its altitude towards the Earth and plans to enter the Earth's atmosphere by 2021 and end its lifetime. After that it is scheduled to be launched in 2018James Webb Space TelescopeWill take over its role and further exploration of the universe will proceed.

ByNASA Goddard Space Flight Center

in Science, Posted by darkhorse_log