Water Discovery on Neptune-Sized Planet Could Be Key to Finding Earth 2.0

HAT-P-11b, earth 2.0

For the first time, scientists have discovered water on a planet that is smaller than Jupiter.  This is an important discovery because, previous to this find, scientists were unable to see through the cloud layer of smaller, warm planets.  With this recent discovery, scientists now have a better chance of discovering an Earth 2.0

The planet of the hour is 120 light-years away, named HAT-P-11b, and it is about the size of Neptune.  Before we go too far, this planet is not habitable.  It’s actually a big ball of gas.

Using the Hubble telescope, researchers were able to use a technique called transmission spectroscopy to look beyond the clouds to examine the planet’s atmosphere.  By using this technique scientists can now better understand how to search for water which will lead to better efforts in locating that elusive Earth 2.0.  In the scope of planetary discoveries, scientists have been able to detect larger planets, it is only until recently that they have been able to step down the scale to examine smaller objects further away.

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