New World Found With Water!

February 22, 2012 at 8:05 PM (astronomy topics, curious research, current news, extraterrestrial studies, science and technology, web gossip)

I am sure that is BIGGER, thank you very much!  I do appreciate the information and updates, but I will pass on the insults.  It is smaller than your anus; how dare you!

I do not have a fat ass.  Oh, they said that it is smaller than Uranus!  My bad!  All silliness aside, I do have a continued interest in learning about all that is being discovered within the vastness of the as yet to be fully recognized universe.  It seems as if new information is being presented daily, and this latest bit is very intriguing!

The telescopic eyes of astronomers recently have been peering toward the constellation Ophiuchus (watch your mouth…).  This is some forty light years from our world, where the red dwarf star GJ 1214 resides.  This star is smaller and cooler than The Sun, and it is not as luminous.  GJ 1214 is attracting attention because of a planet that orbits it, which has earned an entirely new designation!

This world has been labeled as GJ 1214b.  It was discovered during 2009 by The MEarth Project, lead by David Charbonneau of The Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics.  It is assumed to be the inner-most planet to the red dwarf.  Apparently, there is an adequate distance between the star and the planet for water to exist.

GJ 1214b has been classified as a Super-Earth.  It is estimated to be 2.7 times the diameter of Earth, and roughly seven times as heavy (yes, they used a scale….).  It’s orbital period has been identified as once every thirty-eight hours, and is roughly 1.24 million miles from the host star.  GJ 1214 is estimated to be a scalding 446,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit!

The excitement surrounding GJ 1214b is due to it being largely composed of water!  This is unlike any previously discovered exoplanet.  As far as we know, where there is water, there is life.  Additionally, this planet is surrounded by a thick atmosphere which could protect it from any lethal solar releases, and could allow life to flourish!

Scientists at The Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics worked with The Hubble Telescope Wide Field Camera 3.  This allowed a viewing of GJ 1214b as it is in transit of GJ 1214.  The changes in light that appeared during the viewings allowed for observations of the planet having likely mixtures of gases within it’s atmosphere.  It is being shown that this atmosphere is a thick composition of water vapor.

Scientists studying GJ 1214b believe that the world formed at a greater distance from it’s host star than where it exists, currently.  The theory is that the planet was situated in a position that allowed water to exist, then it shifted toward it’s current setting.  During this movement, GJ 1214b orbited within it’s solar system’s habitable zone, where the situation for water to exist, and to become stable upon the planet, could occur.

Of course, all of this presses the issues of finding life beyond Earth.  As far as we know, water does indicate the presence of life.  If a world has been stable long enough for liquid water to exist, it seems plausible to suggest that something could be living there.  Of course, it does not have to be walking and talking, as it simply could be plant life, or even mere forms of microbes.  Yet, that would prove instantly that Earth is not alone as the bearer of living things in all that is everything!

Astronomers Discover 'Waterworld' Planet



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