A group of researchers at the University of Montreal has discovered that two planets outside our solar system may be composed largely of water.
This is what the Science Journal writes ScienceAlert.
The team, led by doctoral student Caroline Piaulet, published a detailed study of a planetary system known as Kepler-138 in the journal. natural astronomy.
Biaulet, who is part of astronomer Bjorn Beneke’s research team, was observing the exoplanets Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d when she discovered that the planets could be composed primarily of water.
An exoplanet, also called an exoplanet, is a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun.
observed for the first time
– We previously thought that planets that were only slightly larger than Earth were large balls of metal and stone, which were enlarged versions of Earth, which is why we called them “super-Earths,” says Bjorn Beneke of the University of Montreal, according to ScienceAlert.
– But we have now found that these two planets, Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d, are very different in nature: perhaps a significant part of their entire volume consists of water. This is the first time we’ve observed planets that can be identified with some certainty as “water worlds,” a type of planet about which astronomers have long theorized, Beneke continues.
Both planets are 218 light years from Earth, according to NASA.
According to the team’s observations, water could make up more than 50 percent of an exoplanet’s volume. Although the star Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d are small red dwarfs, their close proximity to the star would make the exoplanets hotter than Earth’s. Also, their distribution periods range between 13 and 23 days, respectively, according to the newspaper.
This means that the oceans and atmospheres on these planets are very different from those on Earth.
– The temperature in the atmospheres of Kepler-138c and Kepler-138d is likely to be above the boiling point of water, and we would expect a thick, dense atmosphere made of steam on these planets, Piawlet says.
– Only under the vapor atmosphere can there be liquid water under high pressure, or even water in another phase that occurs at high pressure, called a supercritical liquid, as you continue.
It is not disclosed directly
Water has not been directly detected on any of the planets, but by comparing the sizes and masses of the planets to the models, the researchers concluded that up to half of their volume must be made of materials lighter than rock but heavier than hydrogen or helium.
The most common of these is water.
Kepler-138c and d, and a planetary companion closer to the star, Kepler-138b, were discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.
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