. 24/7 Space News .
On exoplanets, atmospheric water may be hiding behind clouds
by Brooks Hays
Pasadena, Calif. (UPI) Jun 8, 2016

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Scientists have detected water in the atmospheres of some hot Jupiters -- exoplanets the size of Jupiter, but orbiting much closer to their parent stars. Others, however, appear to be without water vapor. What gives?

New research published by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory suggests the discrepancy may not be one at all. Layers of haze or clouds, scientists say, may simply be hiding the water from astronomers and their observatories.

Researchers came to the realization after grouping together a collection of previously studied exoplanets -- some with confirmed water vapor, others without -- and looking for commonalities. One surprising constant was significant cloud cover.

"Clouds or haze seem to be on almost every planet we studied," study leader Aishwarya Iyer, a JPL intern who is working toward a masters degree at California State University, Northridge, explained in a news release. "You have to be careful to take clouds or haze into account, or else you could underestimate the amount of water in an exoplanet's atmosphere by a factor of two."

On nearly all of the 19 surveyed exoplanets, clouds were found to have been covering more than half of the exoplanet during the original period of analysis by the Hubble Space Telescope.

"In some of these planets, you can see water peeking its head up above the clouds or haze, and there could still be more water below," Iyer said.

Researchers aren't sure what these layers of haze are composed of, but their presence is problematic for astronomers trying to peer deep into the atmospheres of faraway worlds.

Unlike rocky planets, scientists aren't looking for habitability when they study hot Jupiters. But analysis of their atmospheres can offer insight into their evolution -- whether they formed in their solar system's interior or migrated from the outskirts.

If thick haze prevents accurate analysis, however, especially cloudy hot Jupiters may be of little use to astronomers.

The new research was published in The Astrophysical Journal.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science
Life Beyond Earth

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Planet 1,200 Light-Years Away Is Good Prospect for a Habitable World
Los Angeles CA (SPX) May 27, 2016
A distant planet known as Kepler-62f could be habitable, a team of astronomers reports. The planet, which is about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the direction of the constellation Lyra, is approximately 40 percent larger than Earth. At that size, Kepler-62f is within the range of planets that are likely to be rocky and possibly could have oceans, said Aomawa Shields, the study's lead author an ... read more

US may approve private venture moon mission: report

Fifty Years of Moon Dust

Airbus Defence and Space to guide lunar lander to the Moon

A new, water-logged history of the Moon

Mars 'colonists' to undergo five days of tests

SpaceX could send people to Mars by 2024, Elon Musk says

Study of Opportunity Wheel Scuff Continues

Red and Golden Planets at Opposition

What Does it Take to Become a NASA Astronaut?

India Presses Ahead With Space Ambitions

Fun LoL to Teach Machines How to Learn More Efficiently

International Partners Provide Science Satellites for first SLS mission

China plans 5 new space science satellites

Bolivia to pay back loan to China for Tupac Katari satellite

NASA Chief: Congress Should Revise US-China Space Cooperation Law

Chine's satellite industry eyes global satellite market

Astronauts enter inflatable room at space station

First steps into BEAM will expand the frontiers of habitats for space

Russia delays launch of new crew to ISS until July 7

Airbus DS and ESA launch external commercial payload platform for the ISS

United Launch Alliance gets $138 million Atlas V contract

EchoStar XVIII and BRIsat are installed on Arianespace's Ariane 5

SpaceX makes fourth successful rocket landing

Arianespace to supply payload dispenser systems for OneWeb constellation

Astronomers find giant planet around very young star

Planet 1,200 Light-Years Away Is Good Prospect for a Habitable World

Kepler-223 System Offers Clues to Planetary Migration

Star Has Four Mini-Neptunes Orbiting in Lock Step

Scientists find surprising magnetic excitations in a metallic compound

Aerospace Awarded NASA Grant for Innovative Space Debris Technology

Orbit Logic Awarded Air Force Space Situational Awareness Contract

Titan Transtage to be studied by orbital debris scientists

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.