Astronomers Discover An Alien Planet Covered With Deep Ocean And Perfect Candidate For Life

A team of astronomers has found an exoplanet in the Draco constellation that is 100 light years from Earth and its surface is submerged in a vast ocean.

The exoplanet, TOI-1452b, is a little bigger than Earth and is situated in a "Goldilocks zone," which is a region where the temperature is just right for liquid water to exist. So, according to astronomers, TOI-1452b is expected to be covered in an ocean.

The exoplanet orbits "a nearby visual-binary M dwarf" star.

Dr. Charles Cadieux, a researcher at the University of Montreal, headed the multinational team that made the discovery; their work was published in the Astronomical Journal.

According to Cadieux, TOI-1452b is one of the most promising candidates for an ocean planet that has been discovered so far. Its mass and radius point to a far lower density than one might anticipate for a planet like Earth, which is primarily composed of metal and rock.

The scientists were made aware of the exoplanet's existence by NASA's TESS telescope, which has been in operation since 2018.

The exoplanet, which orbits a star far smaller than our sun, is likely rocky like Earth but has a very different mass, radius, and density, according to researchers. They claim that more data about TOI-1452b will be revealed after NASA's new James Webb Telescope starts its atmosphere characterization work.

"[Observations] should reveal the true nature of this intriguing exoplanet lying within the radius valley, whether this is a rocky world or one with a volatile envelope," researchers wrote in the study. "TOI-1452b is a unique system for studying exoplanets at the transition between super-Earths and mini-Neptunes."

It's also plausible that TOI-1452b is not an ocean planet, the researchers added. They assert that it might also be a terrestrial planet with a thin, low molecular weight atmosphere or a planet made entirely of bare rock with iron content less than half that of the Earth.

Reference(s): Research Paper

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