Method developed to detect extraterrestrial oceans

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Until today has more than three hundred planets outside our solar system found. In most cases, the objects which are similar to Jupiter and gasreus too warm or too cold for life as we know hosting. Somewhere in the near future, astronomers, however, likely encounter a world in that respect it is interesting - a planet with a solid surface at the right distance from its parent star about liquid water, and thus an essential ingredient of the recipe for life. Initially, some object only as a light to see. But how can we find out whether there is actually liquid water is found on a planet? If a large amount of water and therefore contains oceans are we, that is the conclusion of researchers who have developed a method to detect extraterrestrial oceans.

A pale blue dot is the best image that we in the coming decades, even with the most advanced telescopes will obtain a water-covered planet like nature. To learn more about how astronomers oceans on planets around other stars has been recently called the High Resolution Imager of the space probe Deep Impact, which has recently made observations of exoplanets and today called EPOXI referred to from a distance of several tens of millions of kilometers of our planet from an extraterrestrial 'position there.

In this way the team developed a method which can determine whether the surface of a planet that quite a lot of similarities with ours shows large amounts of liquid water. This was picked how the blue color of a planet, in this case the earth, from time to time change: oceans are clearly bluer than the continents, which are more red or orange in appearance, mainly because land on red and near-infrared wavelengths is reflected.

Other things may play a role in the fact that a planet is colored blue; gas Neptune is blue, for example because of the fact that methane is present in the upper layer of its atmosphere. Such a world would not be brightness and color differences, and an object is covered with water. The spectrum of light from a planet-like nature have to be analyzed to determine whether it is covered by oceans.

Finding a water molecule in the spectrum of exoplanets would indicate that water vapor can be found in its atmosphere, but since the telescopes that are currently used to the light of other objects to collect and study in this area not so accurate from the feet to the new generation of telescopes, we just need patience. If the team of researchers is, allows us at least an interesting time as regards the search for habitable planets may have to wait.
More information: New Technique Could Find Water on Distant Earth-like Planets (SpaceRef)
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Source: astroversum