Posted on Thursday, February 27, 2014
By Kadri
A work-group led by Alexandra Lockwood from CalTech has discovered water vapor in the atmosphere of the exoplanet Tau Bo├Âtis b, that lies about 51 lightyears away from us in the constellation Bootes.
The exoplanet is a hot Jupiter, with a mass of approximately 6 times the mass of Jupiter and it orbits very close to it's star finishing one orbit in 3 days and seven and a half hours.

This planet was first discovered in 1996, but now observations using L-band (in the infrared) spectroscopy have been successful in detecting water vapor in it's atmosphere.
there are several exoplanets where water has been detected in the atmosphere, but they have always been transiting planets. However in this case the exoplanet doesn't transit as seen from the earth, so alternative methods have to be used, which have been proven succesful with this discovery.

Detecting water vapor in the atmosphere's of hot Jupiters helps understand the formation and evolution of these giant planets, but it's also helpful in determining how many exoplanets in our Galaxy might have water.

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