UNITED STATES: Astronomers have discovered two exoplanets that could have a tonne of water at the University of Montreal.
Exoplanets that orbit red dwarf stars are “water worlds,” indicating that a large amount of the planet is made up of water, according to a study utilising NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer observatories.
These worlds are unlike any planets in our solar system and are found in a planetary system 218 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Lyra.
The team’s thorough investigation of this Kepler-138 planetary system, headed by Caroline Piaulet of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the University of Montreal, was published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
Piaulet and colleagues used NASA’s Hubble and the decommissioned Spitzer satellite telescopes to investigate exoplanets Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d, and they found that the planets may be primarily made of water.
This was revealed in a press release from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“The NASA Kepler Space Telescope made the initial finding of these two planets together with Kepler-138b, a neighbouring minor planet that is located closer to the star. The most recent investigation also discovered proof of a fourth planet.”
Consider making Europa or Enceladus, the water-rich moons that circle Jupiter and Saturn, larger and much closer to their star, Piaulet suggested.
“Instead of an icy surface, they would host gigantic water-vapour envelopes. We anticipate Kepler-138d’s atmosphere, which is most likely above the water’s boiling point, to be thick, dense, and composed of steam. However, beneath that steam atmosphere, high-pressure liquid water or even water in a new phase, known as a supercritical fluid, which can only exist at high pressures, may exist,” Piaulet concluded.
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