Hubble Telescope: Waterworld Really Exists!

By Chris Maupin 9 years ago1 Comment

Earlier this week, NASA revealed that the Hubble Telescope has discovered an entirely new class of planet: a true Waterworld.

By examining how light from a star passes through the atmosphere of the planet, dubbed GJ1214b, researchers were able to estimate that the skies over the planet were “steamy”, rich in water vapor. Actually, to be more precise, they were MOSTLY water vapor. The scientists, knowing the size and mass of the planet, have been able to determine that has much much much more water than Earth.

Perhaps the most tantalizing part about this aquaplanet, however, is that at some point in  its history it likely passed through the so-called “habitable zone” of the red dwarf star it orbits. At this point however, the surface of GJ1214b is a balmy 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It also weighs seven times as much as Earth and has a 38 hour year.

Full story here:

NASA’s Hubble Reveals a New Class of Extrasolar Planet

View this image Observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have come up with a new class of planet, a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. It’s smaller than Uranus but larger than Earth. Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) and colleagues made the observations of the planet GJ1214b.


 Chris Maupin

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Chris Maupin is a research scientist at Texas A&M University, whose primary research interests consist of using the geochemistry of coral skeletons, microfossils and cave deposits to reconstruct climate variability and investigate climate change in the coral-rich regions of World Ocean. His day job ranges from from turning wrenches on mass spectrometers to culturing corals, with fieldwork in incredible places in between.

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