Astronomers Discover Methane in the K2-18b Exoplanet Due to the James Webb Telescope

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Once again, astronomers are responsible for an exciting discovery after harnessing the powers of the James Webb Space Telescope. An international team of astronomers focused their attention on the K2-18b exoplanet, discovering both methane and carbon dioxide, according to

Astronomers even suspect that they’re dealing with an exoplanet that might have a surface covered by an ocean, as well as an atmosphere that’s rich in hydrogen. The exoplanet in question is about 8.6 times as massive as our planet, and as for its size, it’s placed somewhere between Earth and Neptune. There’s no wonder why K2-18b is also called a sub-Neptune planet.

K2-18b is located 120 light-years away from Earth

There’s currently no known way to travel to the K2-18b exoplanet, as the space object orbits a cool dwarf star called K2-18, and it’s located 120 light-years away from our planet. The space system is also located in the constellation Leo, meaning one of the first forty-eight constellations that were cataloged by Ptolemy back in 150 BC.

Nikku Madhusudhan, the lead author of the paper that announces the new results and who’s also an astronomer at the University of Cambridge, explained as quotes:

Our findings underscore the importance of considering diverse habitable environments in the search for life elsewhere,

Traditionally, the search for life on exoplanets has focused primarily on smaller rocky planets, but the larger Hycean worlds are significantly more conducive to atmospheric observations.

If the idea of a water ocean existing beneath the K2-18b exoplanet, which is also rich in hydrogen, sounds absurd, you should be aware that there’s an abundance of methane and carbon dioxide on the space object.

Stay tuned for more information regarding the fascinating discoveries that astronomers make due to the highly advanced technology of the James Webb Space Telescope!


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