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Scientists find presence of water vapour around `hot Jupiter`

Last Updated: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 14:53

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Researchers have made the first detection of water in the atmosphere of a `hot Jupiter` planet orbiting the nearby star Tau Bootis.

The planet, named tau Boo b, belongs to a class of exotic planets called `hot Jupiters`. A `hot Jupiter` is a massive extrasolar planet that orbits very close to its parent star.
Unlike our Jupiter, which is fairly cold and has an orbital period of about 12 years, tau Boo b orbits its star every 3.3 days and is heated to extreme temperatures by its proximity to the star.

Using the Doppler effect, scientists studied if there exists water in the atmosphere of the planet tau Boo b.

The research team studied data collected at the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii, using the Near Infrared Echelle Spectrograph instrument.

By comparing the molecular signature of water to the combined light spectrum of the planet and star, the scientists were able to measure the motion of the planet as it orbits the star and establish the presence of water vapour in the planet`s atmosphere.
Prior to this, scientists have reported detections of water for just a few other extrasolar planets.

The research team included scientists from California Institute of Technology, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University and University of Arizona.

The discovery has been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

(With Agencies inputs)

First Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 11:05

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