Saturday, April 14, 2007

Space Water

Now all we need to do is to figure out how to get it here, or all move there when we run out here :).

Astronomers find water out of this world
Thursday, 12 April 2007
Agen├že France-Presse

WASHINGTON: The first evidence of water in the atmosphere of a planet outside our own Solar System has been discovered by U.S. astronomers.

The find suggests that many planets orbiting other stars may also harbour water, a key building block of life.

To make the discovery, the astronomers drew on data and measurements taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and applied new theoretical models to them to demonstrate the likelihood of water absorption in the atmosphere of extra-solar planet HD209458b.

Learning about how water is distributed on other planets may help us better understand whether conditions for life are possible.

For years scientists have anticipated that 'exoplanets' would show signs of water in the atmosphere - even those that orbit much closer to central stars than our solar system's Mercury sits from the Sun. But that proximity has made detecting water difficult, according to astronomers.

HD209458b, which sits 150 light years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus, was the first transiting exoplanet ever found - that is, the first discovered that passes in front of a much larger body, from the vantage point of the Earth. It is also the first exoplanet known to have an atmosphere.