Scientists discover planet which may be almost entirely covered in water
The planet is around 100 light-years away from Earth.
Scientists have reportedly stumbled upon a planet that could be almost entirely covered in water.
A team of astronomers at the University of Montreal located the planet, designated TOI-1452 b, during their research which was published in the peer-reviewed Astronomical Journal on Wednesday.
The previously unidentified planet is situated in the Draco constellation, some 100 light-years or so away and its composition is said to be strikingly similar to Earth, albeit bigger.
The researchers believe that the mass of the planet suggests it is largely made up of something less dense than rock but denser than gas: the logical conclusion being a potential global ocean.
With help from the university's observatory, they determined that approximately 30% of TOI-1452 b's mass comes from liquid, signifying a deep global ocean akin to the deep waters experts believe sit below the icy crust of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
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In contrast, while oceans cover around 70% of the Earth's surface, they make up less than one percent of our total mass, with our planet predominantly composed of rock and metallic elements.
With help from NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - commonly known as the TESS spacecraft - and subsequent, new methods of analysis at the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM), the researchers were able to confirm the planet's existence and its radius.
From there, another telescope situated in Hawaii was able to calculate the mass of the nearby planet and while it's still not certain if TOI-1452 b is an ocean world, the presence of waters means it likely has the conditions to support life.
The researchers are now hoping that even closer examination by the James Webb Space Telescope should be able to answer many of the questions we have about this new planet outside of our solar system.