Photo: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian centre for Astrophysics)
New observations from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an instrument that has brought us many crucial revelations about the cosmic world over the last 22 years, show a planet mostly comprised of water, including a thick, steamy atmosphere. “GJ1214b is like no planet we know of,” astronomer Zachary Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian centre for Astrophysics said in a news release.
The new type of planet weighs almost sevens times as much as Earth, but is less dense, suggesting that GJ1214b has more water and less rock than our own planet.
According to the report:
Theorists expect that GJ1214b formed farther out from its star, where water ice was plentiful, and migrated inward early in the system’s history. In the process, it would have passed through the star’s habitable zone, where surface temperatures would be similar to Earth’s. How long it lingered there is unknown.
The results of the study with published in The Astrophysical Journal.
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