Hubble spots five water-likely planets

December 3, 2013 5:38 PM

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Signs of water on five distant planets have been spotted using the Hubble Space Telescope, with scientists finessing their measurements so as to better differentiate which stand the best likelihood of potentially supporting life. Evidence of water had been initially spotted on several Jupiter-like exoplanets previously, but the team led by the University of Maryland in College Park was able to use infrared wavelength measurements to more specifically calculate the nature of the individual atmospheres.

“This work really opens the door for comparing how much water is present in atmospheres on different kinds of exoplanets,” planetary scientist Avi Mandell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said, “for example hotter versus cooler ones.”

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