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The debate on whether or not Osiris has water in its atmosphere continues

A new analysis again suggests that gas giant HD209458b currently has water in its atmosphere.  The planet -- nicknamed Osiris -- is 150 light years away from Earth, located in the Pegasus constellation.  The planet was first detected in late November 1999, with the help of astronomical spectroscopy.  

The hot, Jupiter-like gaseous planet has been the target of research once scientists believed water could be located somewhere on the planet.  Three teams of scientists previously believed there could be water in the planet's atmosphere, but those ideas were questioned after the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope was unable to provide evidence.

Travis Bartman, an astronomer working at Lowell Observatory, believes he has discovered the missing water after analyzing the light from a star when it passes through HD209458b's atmosphere.

Barman and researchers from Harvard University measured the light coming from Osiris as it reached the furthest part of the 3.5-day orbit it makes around the star.  With the help of the Hubble Space Telescope, it was possible to further study water absorption in the planet's atmosphere.  Each time the planet passes its parent star, it is possible to analyze how the atmosphere absorbs light passing from the star through the atmosphere.    

Scientists will continue to study and conduct research to either confirm or deny Barman's research.


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Research or not?
By Kragoth on 4/15/2007 4:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
As some of you have commented about how important this research is let's look at the reality.

1. Some of you say that this research is important to discover our origins. Is it? and if so, how will knowing the location of the "big bang" or some other theory be of any use to the human civilisation? Seeings of course there is still no conclusive evidence that supports any one of the given theories for the beginning of life. Personally, I believe in creation but I am not here to debate religion. It just seems to me that science is being conducted a little backwards. This endless quest to find water on other planets is comical in some respects. I say this for a few reasons. Lets say for instance that we do discover a planet that appears to have some form of life be it primitive or advanced (which I believe will never happen anyways). We have not developed a propulsion system that would get us to the planet before the occupants were dead. It's assumed by most scientists that the planets in our own solar system are most likely devoid of life and we can't even send a person to pluto! I'm all for space research and the amazing things they are discovering. But, let's be honest, what they discover has no real bearing on our lives, it is purely amazing facts and theories.

2. Some of you say that there is not enough money being spent on this type of research and that there are plenty of scientists working on the problems that are here on earth. Really? When the money spent in a single year for space research could eliminate starvation and dirty water for the entire world. (Go research this for yourself, but it's true, a few billion dollars could do this). I think, that human beings are ignorant at best, and would rather ignore these problems and focus on what interests them.

3. All this research going on and just imagine one day we discover another planet with life. A more advanced life. What happens if they don't like humans? What's our strategy then? Maybe aliens want to be left alone from a human race that is always involved in wars and fighting.

So, I think it's pretty reasonable to argue we should fix our own problems before bringing others into it or spending more money on things that don't actually benefit human "LIFE".

Just my 2 cents, not entirely scientific...but there are a few people left in the world with morals, not just money.




RE: Research or not?
By masher2 (blog) on 4/15/2007 6:38:48 PM , Rating: 2
> "the money spent in a single year for space research could eliminate starvation and dirty water for the entire world..."

Total rubbish. Starvation today is a political problem, not a scientific or even an economic one. The only nations where starvation exists are those with civil war, political strife, and/or an oppressive regime.

Also, I have to point out that "useless" space research has already saved countless lives here on Earth. Satellite hurricane monitoring alone has already saved hundreds of thousands by itself...and thats just one of several thousand space-related spinoffs. Miniaturization and telemetry research for the space program has now been adapted to medicine, and is saving further lives. GPS and satellite communications have made getting lost at sea a near-impossibility, and fatal navigational errors are now nearly unheard of.

> "just imagine one day we discover another planet with life. A more advanced life. What happens if they don't like humans? What's our strategy then? "

Better if we find them first then, eh?

> "we can't even send a person to pluto! "

Of course we could. It'd be a task no more difficult than the Gemini/Apollo program was in the 1960s...assuming we use nuclear propulsion, of course.

> "we should fix our own problems before bringing others into it or spending more money on things that don't actually benefit human "LIFE""

People were saying the same things about early experiments with electricity and magnetism during the 1700s, and chemistry before that. Basic research that has benefitted mankind far more than any other.

But some people refuse to learn from history. Basic research always pays off. Always. What we learn about planets hundreds of light-years away will make life better for us here on Earth. And it'll do so sooner than you think.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov











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