Astronomers have found an exciting alien world located around 100 light-years from Earth. Dubbed TOI-1452 b, the world orbits one of two stars forming a binary system in the constellation Draco. The planet is believed to be covered in a vast ocean of liquid water.
To date, researchers have discovered (and confirmed) a total of 5,071 exoplanets, and another 8,870 are awaiting confirmation. Since 1992, when the first exoplanet was discovered, our technology has drastically improved, and our observational techniques have become better and better.
Astronomers are now making incredible discoveries at a stunning pace. Now, a new and exciting alien world has been discovered.
An Ocean World
A Canadian team of researchers discovered an exoplanet, an alien planet orbiting another star, believed to be completely covered in water, just 100 light-years away.
In TOI-1452 b, the world orbits one of two stars forming a binary system in the constellation Draco “the dragon,” near the Big Dipper in the northern sky.
In addition to its slightly larger size and mass than Earth, the exoplanet is located at a distance from its star where its temperature wouldn’t be too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist.
This planet could possibly be an ocean planet, a planet completely submerged beneath water. It is similar to Jupiter’s Ganymede and Callisto, as well as Saturn’s Titan and Enceladus, which are also believed to have subsurface oceans.
There is a possibility that some exoplanets have more water than others. A number of exoplanets with a size between Earth and Neptune have been discovered, and their radius and mass have been determined in recent years. There are several planets that have a density that can only be explained by material that is lighter than that that makes up the Earth’s internal structure, such as water.
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The constellation Draco can always be seen in the northern sky at night. In addition, its atmosphere can be studied because it is close enough. Université de Montréal Professor René Doyon, Director of the Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) and the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic (OMM), who was involved in the NIRISS component of the space telescope, said, “Our observations with the Webb Telescope will be essential for understanding TOI-1452 b.”
“I’m extremely proud of this discovery because it shows the high caliber of our researchers and instrumentation,” said Doyon. “Thanks to the OMM, a special instrument designed in our labs called SPIRou, and an innovative analytic method developed by our research team, we were able to detect this one-of-a-kind exoplanet.”
TOI-1452 is one of two stars in the binary system that have much smaller sizes than our Sun.
The TESS telescope sees the two stars as a single point of light since they are separated by only 97 astronomical units or about twice the distance between the Sun and Pluto. Nevertheless, the high resolution of PESTO’s images allowed the two objects to be distinguished, and a Japanese team confirmed the exoplanet orbits TOI-1452 after further observations.
Our knowledge of TOI-1452 b so far indicates that it is not Earth-like. According to the study, the planet is about 70% larger than Earth. The planet orbits one of two red dwarf stars that orbit each other. Even though it sounds strange, it’s much more common than the lonely star in our solar system.
The mass of the planet — nearly five times the mass of Earth — was estimated after more than 50 hours of observation. TOI-1452 b is thought to be rocky like Earth, but instead of water making up 1% of Earth’s mass, it may represent up to 30% of TOI-1452 b’s mass.
Charles Cadieux, a Ph.D. student at the Université de Montréal and member of iREx, said TOI-1452 b is a good candidate for an ocean planet. “Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than what one would expect for a planet that is basically made up of metal and rock, like Earth.”
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