'Waterworld' discovered by U.S. astronomers
More than twice the size of Earth, world dominated by water and not rock
The planet is being described as "a waterworld enshrouded by a thick,
steamy atmosphere." The planet is an entirely different kind of planet
dominated by water and not by rock, gas or other common materials.
Researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics made the
discovery after scrutinizing the planet with NASA's Hubble Space
Described as a "super-Earth," it is about 2.7 times Earth's diameter.
Continuing studies in 2010 led to scientists suspecting that the planet, where the temperature is some 450 degrees Fahrenheit was largely covered in water. Bertha confirmed this, and his co-authors used the Hubble to study the planet when it crossed in front of its host star.
The light of the star, filtered through the planet's atmosphere, gave clues to the mix of gasses, backing up the water vapor theory.
"The Hubble measurements really tip the balance in favor of a steamy atmosphere," Berta said.
Further measurements and estimates led scientists to conclude that the planet has much more water than Earth and much less rock.
That, together with high temperatures and pressure, likely produce some highly exotic results, including "hot ice," scientists say.
Our solar system contains three basic planet types: rocky, like Earth; gas giants like Jupiter or Saturn; and ice giants like Uranus.
Some other factoids about the freshly discovered planet include the fact that GJ1214b orbits its red-dwarf star every 38 hours at a distance of 1.3 million miles. This means that the planet has a steam temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit. According to researchers, "the high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like 'hot ice' or 'superfluid water,' substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience."
In addition, the planet is well-traveled - Theorists believe that GJ1214b formed "farther out from its star," then traveled inward over the course of its history, landing in the system's "habitable zone."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Technology News
- Micro-spacecraft plans to land on moon in 2015
- Mysterious object blurs the distinction between planets and stars
- Hubble discovery puts us closer than ever to finding alien life - water discovered on 5 planets
- Through the air: The sound of computer keystroke can now be used for spying purposes
- Israeli scientists discover substance that may fend off Alzheimer's, Aging and Parkinson's
- FANTASTIC! Mile-long floating city would house 50,000 permanent residents
- Don't cry for Comet ISON, another stupendous sky show is coming!
- COMET ISON BREAKS UP!
- Where you can watch the death of Comet ISON live as it happens
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?