Astronomers have identified the floating helium in the atmosphere of exoplanets. The official announcement came forward with the paper published in the journal Nature.
A team of scientists probed the WASP-107b with the Hubble Space Telescope. It laid down the path for the identification of the floating helium in the exoplanet’s atmosphere. The exoplanets are at a distance of 200 kilometers from Our Earth.
The instrument called the spectrophotometer is used to process the light passing through the upper atmosphere of the WASP-107. The processed light then reveals the helium’s absorption lines. The researchers believe that there are plenty of the gases existing in the outer atmosphere. The helium clouds extend to more than ten thousand kilometers into space.
Powerful solar rays are emitted from its host stars. The rays strip in the atmosphere. It is estimated to be losing approximately 0.1 to 4 percent of the atmosphere’s mass per billion years.
A Ph.D. student at the University of the Exeter, Jessica Spake conveyed that helium is the second most abundant element of the Universe succeeding the hydrogen. She further addressed that “It is also one of the main constituents of the planets Jupiter and Saturn in our Solar System. However, up until now, helium had not been detected on exoplanets – despite searches for it.”
Some of the interesting facts of the WASP-107b:
- It has an extremely low density of about 0.19 grams per cubic centimeter.
- The lower density makes it several times dense than the Jupiter.
- It is thirty times denser than our Blue Planet.
- It has a colder atmosphere of five hundred degree Celsius.
Many of the telescopes have a capability of 10,830-Angstrom units. It corresponds to the absorption line of helium that the researchers detected with WASP-107b.
We hope that this discovery will unveil many undiscovered facts of many more exoplanets in the future.