The Cosmic Shed

An alien planet with water and Ad Astra

September 22, 2019

Scientists have announced the first ever discovery of water vapour on an alien world outside our solar system. We bring you the lead author on the paper that made the discovery Professor Giovanna Tinetti of University College London in this episode of The Cosmic Shed.


An artists impression of K2-18b (not a Star Wars Droid but a watery exoplanet)

Just a few years ago, exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars than our own) were theorised but we'd never actually detected any. With improving techniques, telescopes and technology, astronomers have now found over 4000 and begun to be able to peak into their atmospheres. It's worth stopping for a moment to think about. Planets orbiting stars lightyears away from Earth and astronomers can peer into the their atmosphere by analysing the light signatures. Truly astounding. Perhaps even more wonderfully, one of the very first planets to reveal its atmosphere to us has revealed water vapour.

Water is essential for life on Earth. 

Listen now to Professor Giovanna Tinetti on The Cosmic Shed.


Prof Giovanna Tinetti tells The Cosmic Shed about the watery exoplanet K2-18b 

If you want to gaze up at K2-18b and wonder what might be floating or wandering around there, you'll find the star it orbits around the constellation of Leo.

We also discuss Ad Astra.


Brad Pitt in Ad Astra

Show notes

Get your tickets for our double bill of Tron and Tron Legacy with added science here.