K2-18 b

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    Syllabus :GS 3/Space 

    In News

    About K2-18 b

    • K2-18 b is a super Earth exoplanet that orbits an M-type star
    • It is 120 light years from earth and orbits the cool dwarf star K2-18 a.
    • It is 8.6 times as massive as Earth and the size lies that of between earth and Neptune.
    • Its discovery was announced in 2015.

    Discoveries 

    • The observations of James Webb also provided a possible detection of a molecule called dimethyl sulfide (DMS).
      • On Earth, DMS is only produced by life.
        • The bulk of the DMS in Earth’s atmosphere is emitted from phytoplankton in marine environments. 
    • Planet k2-18b is within the  “habitable zone” of its star, that is conditions are just right – neither too hot nor too cold – for life to exist.
    • Webb’s discovery adds to recent studies suggesting that K2-18 b could be a Hycean exoplanet, one which has the potential to possess a hydrogen-rich atmosphere and a water ocean-covered surface.

    Future Outlook

    • NASA now intends to conduct follow-up research with the telescope’s MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument) spectrograph that they hope will further validate their findings and provide new insights into the environmental conditions on K2-18 b.
    What is an exoplanet?

    – An exoplanet is any planet beyond our solar system.
    – All of the planets in our solar system orbit around the Sun. Planets that orbit around other stars are called exoplanets.
    – Exoplanets are very hard to see directly with telescopes. They are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.

    Source: News on air