Friday, February 24, 2012

Hubble Finds Waterworld Planet

Hubble Reveals a New Class of Extrasolar Planet

ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2012) — Observations by the NASA/ESA 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.

GJ1214b, shown in this artist’s view, is a super-Earth orbiting a red dwarf star 40 light-years from Earth. New observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope show that it is a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere. GJ 1214b represents a new type of planet, like nothing seen in the Solar System or any other planetary system currently known. (Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics))

An international team of astronomers led by Zachory Berta of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) made the observations of the planet GJ 1214b.
"GJ 1214b is like no planet we know of," Berta said. "A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water."



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