Thursday, December 15, 2022

Two Water Worlds Found with Oceans 500 Times Deeper than Earth's | NASA

Two Water Worlds Found with Oceans 500 Times Deeper than Earth's | NASA

Using data from NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes, astronomers have found evidence that two exoplanets, both slightly larger than Earth, orbiting a star 218 light-years away are “water worlds,” where water makes up a large fraction of the entire planet. The soggy worlds orbit the red dwarf star Kepler-138 in the constellation Lyra. The planets were found in 2014 with NASA's Kepler Space Observatory. Follow-up observations with the Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes found that the planets must be composed largely of water. The spectral signature of water was not directly observed. However, this conclusion is based on their density, which is calculated from comparing their size and mass.

"Imagine larger versions of Europa or Enceladus, the water-rich moons orbiting Jupiter and Saturn, but brought much closer to their star," explained Piaulet. "Instead of an icy surface, they would harbor large water-vapor envelopes," explained Caroline Piaulet of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the University of Montreal,

Learn more about this discovery: 

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Paul Morris: Lead Producer 

Cassandra Morris: Narrator

Image Credit:

Water World next to Earth

Benoit Gougeon, Université de Montréal

Duration: 1 minute, 29 seconds

Release Date: Dec. 15, 2022

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