Astronomers Find Watery Planet

Probably can't support life, but it's the closest find yet
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2009 6:06 PM CST
The big guy in red is the new planet.   (Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics)

(Newser) – Astronomers have found a planet made mostly of water, coming ever closer to finding something out there that could theoretically support life. This one, dubbed GJ 1214b, probably isn't it—it's way too hot and surrounded by superheated gases. But it's
"the most watertight evidence so far for a planet that is something like our own Earth, outside our solar system," writes a UC-Berkeley astronomer in Nature.

“If you want to describe in one sentence what this planet is, it’s a big, hot ocean,” said another astronomer, Harvard's David Charbonneau. “We can even study its atmosphere. This planet will occupy us for years. That’s part of what’s so exciting about it.” The planet is bigger than Earth but in the ballpark, with roughly twice the size and 6 times the mass, notes NPR.

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