London, Sep 12: Astronomers have for the first time discovered water in the atmosphere of an exoplanet with Earth-like temperatures that could support life as we know it.
K2-18b, which is eight times the mass of Earth, is now the only planet orbiting a star outside the Solar System, or 'exoplanet', known to have both water and temperatures that could be potentially habitable, according to the study published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The planet orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18, which is about 110 light years from Earth in the Leo constellation, researchers said.
The discovery is the first successful atmospheric detection for an exoplanet orbiting in its star's 'habitable zone', at a distance where water can exist in liquid form, they said.
"Finding water in a potentially habitable world other than Earth is incredibly exciting," said Angelos Tsiaras from the University College London (UCL) in the UK.
"K2-18b is not 'Earth 2.0' as it is significantly heavier and has a different atmospheric composition. However, it brings us closer to answering the fundamental question: Is the Earth unique?" said Tsiaras.
The team used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by the ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope and developed open-source algorithms to analyse the starlight filtered through K2-18b's atmosphere.
The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapour, also indicating the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet's atmosphere, researchers said.
They believe that other molecules including nitrogen and methane may be present but, with current observations, they remain undetectable.
Further studies are required to estimate cloud coverage and the percentage of atmospheric water present, the researchers said.
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Kota (Rajasthan)(PTI): Upset over regular fights with her husband, a 40-year-old woman allegedly jumped into a well with her five minor daughters, all of whom died, when the man had gone to attend the condolence meeting of a relative, police said Sunday.
They said the villagers spotted the six bodies Sunday morning and informed the police who rushed the bodies to a local hospital.
The deceased woman has been identified as Badamdevi, a mother of seven and the wife of Shivlal Banjara, a resident of Banjaron Ka Dera at Kaliyahedi village under Chechat police station.
The five minor deceased girls are Savitri (14), Ankali (8), Kajal (6), Gunjan (4) and one-year-old Archana. Police said the two other daughters -- Gayatri (15) and Punam (7) -- escaped the ill-fate as they remained asleep.
Chechat Circle Officer DSP Praveen Nayak said prima facie the routine fights between the woman and her husband was the reason behind the woman taking the extreme step.
Shivlal worked as a blanket and cloth vendor.
The CO said the man was not present at his home when the incident occurred on the intervening night of Saturday on Sunday as he had gone to attend the condolence meeting at his relative's home in another village.
Chechat police station SHO Rajendra Meena said the well is just 100 meters from the house of the woman.
Shivlal returned to home Sunday morning after being informed of the incident but he did not tell the police why his wife took the extreme step, the SHO said.
A case under section 174 of CrPC would be lodged in the matter to investigate carried out, he said.
The postmortem of the six bodies is underway, he said.