Planet with Water Discovered
HD 189733b holds superheated water vapor but is too hot for aliens
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2007 3:57 PM CDT
TO GO WITH AFP STORY-US SPACE-MATTER BY   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Astronomers located the first planet beyond our solar system that hosts water—a giant gas ball bigger than Jupiter and named HD 189733b. Its sizzling climate, which can reach upwards of 3,600 degrees, renders it uninhabitable to any extraterrestrials, but the discovery shows that water is more common in outer space than previously thought.

"Our method can be used in the future to study more 'life-friendly' environments," said a scientist at the European Space Agency. HD 189733b orbits a star in the constellation of Vulpecula the Fox, and its H20 exists only as superheated steam. It was spotted after infrared sensors on NASA's Spitzer orbiting telescope picked up a "wobble" in light seen through the planet's water vapor.