Ocean planet discovered 100 light-years from Earth

Author: Clark Tos
2022-10-10 15:57:01

Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet located 100 light years from Earth that would be completely covered in water. Any hope of finding signs of life?

Scientists from the University of Montreal and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) recently discovered an ocean planet. This discovery was made possible thanks to the use of NASA's TESS telescope, dedicated to the search for exoplanets.

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According to astronomers, exoplanet TOI-1452b is completely covered in water. It orbits a binary system made up of two stars that also orbit each other. This star would be much smaller than our Sun and the exoplanet is located in the constellation of the Dragon, about a hundred light years from the Earth. Earth .

A planet covered in water

The mass of this exoplanet would be five times greater than that of the Earth. Scientists estimate that the water present on the exoplanet could represent 30% of its mass, a sign of the existence of a very deep ocean potential. By comparison, the water present on Earth represents 1% of the mass of our planet.

“TOI-1452b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet we have found to date. Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than would be expected for a planet composed mostly of metal and rock, like Earth.' , said Charles Cadieux, a doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Montreal.

Photo credit: iStock

If it is possible that there is water on this ocean planet, it is because the temperature on the planet is perfect for maintaining water in a liquid state.

“The exoplanet is at a distance from its star that allows it to maintain a temperature that is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on its surface” , the Institute for Research on Exoplanets said in a statement.

Subsequently, astronomers would like to use the James Webb Telescope to study the atmosphere of the exoplanet. The opportunity to learn more about this incredible discovery and, perhaps, to find signs of life?

Source : The Astronomical Journal