Dusty clouds may conceal water on alien worlds
Water that scientists expected to see on two planets outside the solar system has not been detected, according to pioneering new measurements. Astronomers suspect the water may be hiding beneath a dusty haze blanketing the two Jupiter-like planets.
This is the first time that scientists have obtained the spectra of planets outside the solar system – a major step towards the ultimate goal of learning more about Earth-like planets in the future.
The two planets, HD 209458b and HD 189733b, are known as 'hot Jupiters' because they whip around their respective stars every few days at close range.
Scientists were expecting to see signs of water on the planets because computer models show that they formed with water at greater distances from their host stars before migrating inwards to their present locations. The planets' large masses mean they should be able to hold onto much of that water, despite being heated up by the nearby stars.
Lees meer: NewScientist