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Helium Detected in Exoplanet Atmosphere for the First Time

Scientists have recently discovered the presence of helium on a planet outside our solar system. This revelation shall be a major factor that shall help us to better understand the makeup of other planets. This may also help us in understanding our neighbour planets and life over there and whether they can host aliens or not.

This finding was made after the scientists discovered evidence of the gas on a huge super-Neptune. The planet – named WASP-107b which are present almost found 200 light years away in the constellation Virgo confirm many of scientists’ predictions about planets elsewhere in space. Helium is the second most common element in the universe. There was a high probability of it being present on other planets as well just like Jupiter and Saturn. This technique that has been employed to discover the presence of helium shall prove to be very useful in understanding more about the atmospheres of our neighbouring planets. It uses infrared light, which has the capability of spotting planets with such tall atmospheres from a long distance. It is being planned to pair up this technique with James Webb Space Telescope, in order to learn what kind of planets have large envelopes of hydrogen and helium, and for exactly how long planets can hold on to their atmospheres. Infrared light allows to see far beyond in space as compared to ultraviolet light. WASP-107b is a strange planet. It has a very low density and is similar in size to Jupiter, but has only 12 per cent of its mass – and is relatively cool for an exoplanet but 500C hotter than Earth.

By: Anuja Arora


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