Astronomers discover planet that could be completely covered in water
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
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.”
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