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Newly discovered a super-Earth! 30% are water, only 100 light-years away, maybe an ocean planet

by Matthew A Lam 3 months ago in science fiction
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Science Fiction

Everything in the universe is made up of various elements, but the proportion of these elements in the universe is very uneven, of which hydrogen and helium are the two elements that occupy 73.9% and 24% of the mass of the observable universe, while among the other elements, the proportion of oxygen is the most, and its mass occupies about 1% of the observable universe.

Oxygen is very active chemically, and they always tend to react with other elements, because hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, so the probability of chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen in the universe is the largest, and the product of the reaction between these two elements is water.

It can be seen that water is actually universal in the universe, so the existence of planets containing large amounts of water in the universe is also quite normal. On this basis, it is reasonable to assume that if a water-rich planet is located in the habitable zone of its host star, then the surface of this planet could be completely covered by an ocean of liquid water, and we could call it an "ocean planet".

According to our knowledge of life, life may not need oxygen, but liquid water is essential for life, so we have reason to believe that life may exist on an ocean planet.

Interestingly, ocean planets may not be too far away from us. According to a new study recently published in the Astrophysical Journal, astronomers have discovered a new super-Earth using observational equipment such as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and the Garfaxia Telescope (CFHT), and researchers Researchers speculate that the planet is about 30 percent water, and is probably an ocean planet.

The planet, named TOI-1452 b, is located in the sky in the direction of the constellation Cepheus, only 100 light-years away from us, which is a very close distance on the macroscopic scale of the universe.

The main star of "TOI-1452 b" is a red dwarf named "TOI-1452", which forms a binary star with another red dwarf named "TIC 420112587". The average distance between these two stars is about 97 astronomical units, and they orbit each other about once every 1400 years.

TOI-1452 b is called a super-Earth because it is a rocky planet with a larger mass and volume than the Earth, with observations indicating that it is about 4.8 times the mass and 1.7 times the radius of the Earth.

For a super-Earth of the size of "TOI-1452 b", if the composition of its material is similar to that of the Earth, it should be significantly denser than the Earth, because the larger a planet is, the stronger its gravity will be, which will "compress" its material This "compresses" its matter more tightly.

However, the researchers found that the density of "TOI-1452 b" is only about 5.6 g/cm3, which is much lower than expected because the average density of the Earth is about 5.5 g/cm3, which means that it is very close to the Earth's density.

According to the researchers, "TOI-1452 b" is composed of a significant portion of its mass, which is lighter than the material that makes up the Earth. It is highly likely that this "lighter matter" is water. According to the researchers' calculations, if this is the case, then water would account for about 30% of its total mass.

In contrast, the water on our planet is not even 1% of the total mass of the Earth, so we can fully imagine how amazing the water content of this super-Earth is.

What's more, TOI-1452 b is located in the habitable zone of its host star, which means that its surface temperature is neither too cold nor too hot to allow water to exist in liquid form for a long time.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that a large part of the water of TOI-1452 b is liquid water, which is present in large quantities on the surface of the super-Earth, and given its huge water content, the surface of the planet should be completely covered by an ocean of liquid water.

That's why researchers are optimistic that TOI-1452 b is the best candidate for an ocean planet among the known exoplanets, which means that life could exist there.

Of course, this is only a preliminary hypothesis, and the team's researchers say they are actively applying to use the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to observe the newly discovered super-Earth to test this hypothesis.

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Matthew A Lam

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