A group of astronomers may have found Earth's long lost cousin and discovered the first "habitable" planet with water in its atmosphere. This is the result of new research supported by the Hubble telescope.
Known as K2-18b, the mysterious eight-fold exoplanet is twice the size of Earth, but its atmosphere could help answer burning questions about the possibility of living outside of our solar system. A research report on the new find was published Wednesday in the Nature Astronomy Journal.
"It's incredibly exciting to find water in a potentially habitable world other than Earth," said Angelos Tsiaras of University College London, the study author's director.
This brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: is the earth unique?
Tsiaras added, however, that the planet should not be considered "Earth 2.0" since "It is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition." Hubble's dying star PHOTO baffles NASA scientists
K2-18 b, first discovered in 2015, is in the "habitable zone" – also known as "Goldilocks Zone" known distant solar system that sits just at the right distance from its red dwarf star to keep liquid water on its surface. The researchers found that the planet's star, smaller and cooler than the Earth's sun, may emit deadly radiation that makes the world as hostile to life as we know it.
Water vapor has so far only been found in the atmospheres of hot gas giants such as Jupiter.
Also on rt.com
"I'm ready for my close up!" Hubble PHOTOS show Jupiter's atmosphere in breathtaking details (VIDEO) Astronomer Jonti Horner of the University of Southern Queensland told ABC that the discovery would suit researchers help to better understand other Earth-like planets.
Finding out what's in the atmosphere of a planet twice the size of the Earth's radius, and orbiting a star just over a quadrillion miles away is simply unbelievable, "Horner said Your friends would be interested in sharing this story!