Astronomers discover planet that could be completely covered in water

·2-min read
Scientists want to use the James Webb Space Telescope to study the exoplanet  (Benoit Gougeon/ University of Montreal)
Scientists want to use the James Webb Space Telescope to study the exoplanet (Benoit Gougeon/ University of Montreal)

Astronomers have discovered a new exoplanet – meaning it is outside the Solar System – that could be covered in water, which could be the first of its kind.

A team of University of Montreal astronomers discovered an exoplanet orbiting TOI-1452, which is a star about 100 light-years from Earth.

Reporting their findings in The Astronomical Journal, the researchers say that the exoplanet, which is known as TOI-1452 b, is slightly greater in size and mass than Earth.

Additionally, its distance from its star means its temperature could allow liquid to exist on its surface, as it wouldn’t be too hot or cold.

The astronomers believe it could be an “ocean planet” meaning it could be completely covered by a thick layer of water, similar to some of Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons.

Also like Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons, water may make up as much as 30% of the planet’s mass.

Although water covers about 70% of Earth’s surface, it only makes up 1% of the planet’s mass.

Charles Cadieux, a PhD student at the University of Montreal l who led the team of researchers, told the Institute for Research on Exoplanets: “TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date.

“Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than what one would expect for a planet that is basically made up of metal and rock, like Earth.”

Amazing images from the James Webb Space Telescope

Nasa broadcasts the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s most advanced space telescope on the Piccadilly Lights screen in London. Experts say early observations are expected to change the face of astronomy forever (PA)
Nasa broadcasts the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s most advanced space telescope on the Piccadilly Lights screen in London. Experts say early observations are expected to change the face of astronomy forever (PA)
The dawn of a new era in astronomy has begun as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (ESA/Webb/AFP via Getty Images)
The dawn of a new era in astronomy has begun as the world gets its first look at the full capabilities of the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (ESA/Webb/AFP via Getty Images)
The bright star at the center of NGC 3132, while prominent when viewed by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in near-infrared light, plays a supporting role in sculpting the surrounding nebula. A second star, barely visible at lower left along one of the bright stars diffraction spikes, is the nebulas source. It has ejected at least eight layers of gas and dust over thousands of years (NASA)
The bright star at the center of NGC 3132, while prominent when viewed by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in near-infrared light, plays a supporting role in sculpting the surrounding nebula. A second star, barely visible at lower left along one of the bright stars diffraction spikes, is the nebulas source. It has ejected at least eight layers of gas and dust over thousands of years (NASA)
A person takes a video of the gians screens displaying images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope in Times Square (AFP via Getty Images)
A person takes a video of the gians screens displaying images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope in Times Square (AFP via Getty Images)
Landscape of mountains and valleys speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula (Getty Images/2022 NASA )
Landscape of mountains and valleys speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula (Getty Images/2022 NASA )
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephans Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, in a new light (Getty Images)
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope reveals Stephans Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies, in a new light (Getty Images)
Images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope are displayed on screens at Times Squar (AFP via Getty Images)
Images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope are displayed on screens at Times Squar (AFP via Getty Images)
President Biden previews the first colour Image from Webb Space Telescope (NASA via Getty Images)
President Biden previews the first colour Image from Webb Space Telescope (NASA via Getty Images)
The ‘deepest’ and most detailed picture of the cosmos to date (PA Media)
The ‘deepest’ and most detailed picture of the cosmos to date (PA Media)
Images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope are displayed on screens at Times Square (AFP via Getty Images)
Images captured by The James Webb Space Telescope are displayed on screens at Times Square (AFP via Getty Images)
Images released by Nasa shows a side-by-side comparison of observations of the Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared light, at left, and mid-infrared light, at right, from the Webb Telescope (AP)
Images released by Nasa shows a side-by-side comparison of observations of the Southern Ring Nebula in near-infrared light, at left, and mid-infrared light, at right, from the Webb Telescope (AP)

Researchers are hoping to use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study the exoplanet further.

Researcher René Doyon said: “Our observations with the Webb Telescope will be essential to better understanding TOI-1452 b. As soon as we can, we will book time on the Webb to observe this strange and wonderful world.”