Astronomers have found a new nearby planet that is possibly completely covered in water.

Astronomers have found a new nearby planet that is possibly completely covered in water.
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astronomers have discovered a nearby exoplanet which may turn out to be the first such world covered in Water.

TOI-1452 b is an exoplanet slightly larger and more massive than Earth about 100 light-years distant from our planet in the constellation Draco. In a paper published on Wednesday in the astronomical diaryResearchers at the University of Montreal determined that the planet’s mass suggests that it is largely composed of something less dense than rock but denser than gas, a potential sign of a global ocean.

“TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date,” doctoral student in astrophysics at the University of Montreal charles caddieux he said in a statement. “Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than would be expected for a planet that is made primarily of metal and rock, like Earth.”

TOI-1452 b first came to the attention of astronomers via NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, or Tess spacecraft, which studies distant stars for telltale dips in their light that signify an exoplanet passing in front of the star, that is, is in transit. The Tess data suggested the existence of an exoplanet, but the observation was not definitive.

The star TOI-1452 b orbits is part of a binary star system, and Tess does not possess the power to resolve the individual stars in that system. However, the University’s Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM) observatory, coupled with new analytical methods, was able to confirm that TOI-1452 b exists.

“The WMO played a crucial role in confirming the nature of this signal and estimating the radius of the planet,” said Mr Cadieux. “This was not a routine check. We had to make sure that the signal detected by TESS was actually caused by an exoplanet orbiting TOI-1452, the larger of the two stars in that binary system.”

An instrument installed on the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii measured the mass of the planet.

Unlike Earth, which is a mostly rocky, metallic planet with water covering about 70% of its surface, TOI-1452 b appears to be largely, but not entirely, made up of water, with about 30% of its mass from the liquid. It’s a kind of deep global ocean more akin to the deep waters thought to lurk beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s moon Enceladus than to Earth’s oceans; water constitutes less than 1% of the mass of our planet.

Exoplanets are outside our solar system.

It’s not yet certain that TOI-1452 b is an ocean world, and what that might mean for the chances of discovering alien life in its waters, but the researchers note that the James Webb Space Telescope soon you should be able to help penetrate the mystery of this strange new aquatic world.

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