Researchers find 'warm Neptune' with water in its atmosphere

Water Weird Clouds Found on Alien'Warm Neptune

A pioneering new study has uncovered large amounts of water in the "primitive atmosphere" of an exoplanet, which is a similar size to Neptune.

However, the composition of a planet's atmosphere can provide valuable clues as to how the planet formed.

Around 437 light years away lies the mysterious exoplanet HAT-P-26b - which is a bad name, but blessedly it's also known as "Warm Neptune".

In this study, the researchers accumulated the data from four transits of the exoplanet which were measured by Hubble and two of which were observed by Spitzer. Now thanks to a joint effort between NASA and a team of scientists from various universities such as the University of Maryland and University of Exeter, a new study is showing the most detailed analysis of a warm Neptune to date. This, perhaps pointing to the possibility that HAT-P-26b was formed closer to its host star, formed late into the development of its planetary system or both.

This revelation could change how scientists think about the birth and development of planetary systems in other distant galaxies.

"Astronomers have just begun to investigate the atmospheres of these distant Neptune-mass planets, and nearly right away, we found an example that goes against the trend in our solar system", says co-team leader and lead author Hannah Wakeford, a postdoctoral researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in the statement.

It's a memorable moment for the scientists involved.

And they found what they were looking for: the spectrum shows some light cloud cover and a clear signature of water in the planet's gaseous envelope.

As the research provided an accurate measurement of water, the astronomers were able to approximate the exoplanet's metallicity by using the water signature.

Experts hope studying HAT-P-26b's peculiar features and learning how it came to be formed could help them crack how the solar system itself came into existence. The planet has a primitive atmosphere, made up nearly entirely of hydrogen and helium. "This kind of unexpected result is why I really love exploring the atmospheres of alien planets". Using the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, an global team of researchers found a strong water signature in the exoplanet's atmosphere, which itself is primitive in nature - it is made up nearly entirely of hydrogen and helium, the two lightest elements. Hot Jupiters, and their smaller cousins, hot Neptunes, orbit their host stars searingly close.

Using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and Hubble Telescope, the researchers collected data during transits, an event when a planet passes in front of its host star. It is an indication of how rich the planet is in all elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. This would have resulted in icy debris rich in heavier elements falling onto Neptune and Uranus, while Jupiter and Saturn would have formed in a warmer part of the disk, and thus obtaining less of icy debris. While big planets like Neptune have metallicities about one hundred times that of the sun, this exoplanet only has a metallicity of about 4.8 times that of its own star.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Samsung rumored to release a high-end flip phone with dual displays
May 13, 2017 - 00:54
After the successful launch of Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, Samsung Rumored to Launch New High-end Flip Phone Soon. The device has also won clearance from the New Jersey-based Wireless Power Consortium for wireless charging.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Doctors Warn of Painful Parasite Hiding in Your Sushi
May 13, 2017 - 00:54
This inner vision revealed a swollen intestinal membrane with a firmly attached parasite , its end penetrating the stomach. Doctors are warning people who eat sushi Sushi the dangers of ingesting parasites from raw and undercooked fish .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Ally Roger Stone Says He Won't Testify Privately on Russian Federation
May 13, 2017 - 00:53
Stone rejects the idea it had anything to do with reports that Comey was seeking more resources for the Russian Federation probe. Trump tweeted Wednesday that he hasn't spoken to Stone "in a long time", saying CNN's reporting on the matter was "false".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Mercedes upgrades for F1 Spanish Grand Prix enter Formula 1 loophole territory
May 13, 2017 - 00:52
Last year's Spanish GP victor Max Verstappen was again ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo, a tenth up on the Aussie and 0.636s off Hamilton's lap.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top German bunds gain after investors defy higher Q1 economic growth
May 13, 2017 - 00:42
Private households and the state had increased their consumption expenditures slightly at the beginning of the year, it added. First-quarter GDP growth was 0.6%, faster than the October-to December 2016 figure of 0.4%.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Ohio State football's Academic Progress Rate sits at an 8-year high
May 12, 2017 - 00:50
Each year, the NCAA honors selected Division I sports teams by publicly recognizing their latest multiyear NCAA Division I April . Women's basketball posted its third consecutive ideal 1,000 single-year rate, for the first time in program history.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Spurs star Leonard vows to play in game six
May 12, 2017 - 00:31
I'm torn over Thursday's Game Six of the fascinating playoff series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets. Manu Ginobili replaced Leonard in the lineup with 4:57 to play, but Leonard re-entered the game with 2:59 remaining.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top South Korea's Moon floats summit. Will North bite?
May 12, 2017 - 00:21
A veteran Central Intelligence Agency operations officer has been selected to act as head of the center and appointed Assistant Director for Korea.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top UN Secretary General Calls to Avoid Humanitarian Tragedy in Somalia
May 12, 2017 - 00:12
Britain is hosting a high-level conference to address the deepening humanitarian crisis and security situation in Somalia. World Health Organization added that if the current drought situation continues, " famine could soon be a reality".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Baahubali 2, Box Office Collection - DAY 6: Film's Hindi Version Races Ahead!
May 10, 2017 - 03:34
In bid to cash in on Baahubali mania, the distributors released the film in over 8,000 screens around the world on April 28. Baahubali 2 has also become the highest Indian grossing film in the U.S. by shattering the record of Aamir Khan's Dangal.

Harvey suspended, Stanton hits 2 HRs, Marlins beat Mets 7-0
May 10, 2017 - 03:27
Harvey is 2-2 with a 5.14 ERA this season in six starts since returning from July surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. In his first big-league game since 2015, the lefty was hit hard, giving up six runs and eight hits in 32/3 innings.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Klopp: Liverpool's Season Is Not Over
May 10, 2017 - 03:25
Liverpool now have 70 points from 36 games played, one point ahead of fourth placed Manchester City that also have a game in hand. To play against 10 deep defending Southampton players is very is a point more but doesn't feel like that".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Philippines, US launch scaled-down military exercises
May 10, 2017 - 03:04
Opening rites for the " Balikatan " or "Shoulder-to-Shoulder" exercises were led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and U.S. Philippines suffered two major disasters in 2013 for which U.S. forces contributed to the relief efforts.

Locals react to President Trump's executive order on religious liberty
May 09, 2017 - 07:58
Senior Pastor at Church For All Nations, Mark Cowart, says he's already been speaking freely for the past five years since Pulpit Freedom Sunday.

Andy Cohen's warning for Ryan Seacrest: Don't underestimate Kelly Ripa
May 09, 2017 - 07:58
I had said at the end of the series, "Goodbye for now", hoping somewhere it would come back'. You've got the radio show, you've got this, but your nights are free. you can do this.