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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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RE: Research or not?
By masher2 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.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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