Scientists discover a 'water world' in which the ocean boils in deep space | Today's news|

An image, made by an artist, of what an exoplanet might look like.

Image: NASA; which – which; Canadian Space Agency. Joseph Olmstead/STScI

A group of astronomers from Cambridge University Announced the discovery of a distant planet that could be completely covered by a deep ocean of water that could boil. This observation made in deep space was published in a journal Journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics It is part of efforts to find suitable conditions for life outside Earth.

Observations made through James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, abbreviated in English), detected the presence of water vapor, as well as signs of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of the exoplanet, which would be twice the size of Earth and located more than 70 light years.

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According to the researchers, these readings are consistent with a “water world,” where the ocean covers most of the surface and has a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. However, scientists explain that it is unlikely to be a human-friendly ecosystem.

“The ocean temperature could be over 100 degrees or more,” he said.Professor Nico Madhusudan, who led the analysis, signed up to The Guardian. At high atmospheric pressure — tens or hundreds of times the pressure at Earth's surface — an ocean at that temperature could still be liquid, but it's not clear whether it would be habitable, according to the researcher.

But how did astronomers reach these conclusions?? Key to these analyzes are readings made by the James Webb Telescope, which captures starlight filtered through the atmospheres of planets in their orbits and allows detailed analysis of the chemical elements present.

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In this way, evidence of an ocean on this exoplanet depends on the non-detection of ammonia, which, according to the researchers, should appear in a hydrogen-rich atmosphere. However, since it is highly soluble in water, it would be exhausted into the air if there was an ocean in the planet's subsurface. This is interpretation A The researchers explained that the “ice age” world includes an ocean of water under a hydrogen-rich atmosphere.

However, it is not a conclusion without answers. A team from Canada observed this exoplanet (named TOI-270 D), discovered the same atmospheric gases, but argue that the planet is too hot to contain liquid water, with… Rated temperature is 4000 Celsius. In contrast, They confirm that the planet will have a rocky surface with an atmosphere rich in hydrogen and water vapor.

One of the most surprising aspects of this planet is that its tides are locked, meaning that half of its surface is permanently directed toward a star, while the other is in constant darkness. “The ocean will be very hot during the day. “The night part could host habitable conditions.” Madhusudan explained to The Guardian.

In addition to this, it was revealed Carbon disulphideIt is a chemical compound that has been associated with biological processes on Earth, but can be produced from other sources. However, there are no traces of other biosignature molecules such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS).

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The researchers say new observations are needed to determine how abundant vapor is in the atmosphere Which confirms the existence of the ocean. However, there is optimism in the scientific community about the discovery of a planet with ecosystems unparalleled in the solar system, which is putting to the test exoplanet analyzes available so far.

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Myrtle Frost

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