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marketrent OP t1_j0ef5ep wrote

15 December 2022.


>A team led by UdeM astronomers has found evidence that two exoplanets orbiting a red dwarf star are “water worlds,” planets where water makes up a large fraction of the volume.

>The team, led by PhD student Caroline Piaulet of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx) at the Université de Montréal, published a detailed study of a planetary system known as Kepler-138 in the journal Nature Astronomy today.

>Water wasn’t directly detected, but by comparing the sizes and masses of the planets [Kepler-138c and d] to models, they conclude that a significant fraction of their volume — up to half of it — should be made of materials that are lighter than rock but heavier than hydrogen or helium (which constitute the bulk of gas giant planets like Jupiter).

>The most common of these candidate materials is water.


>The closest comparison to the two planets, say researchers, would be some of the icy moons in the outer solar system that are also largely composed of water surrounding a rocky core.

>Researchers caution the planets may not have oceans like those on Earth directly at the planet’s surface.

>“The temperature in Kepler-138c's and Kepler-138d’s atmospheres is likely above the boiling point of water, and we expect a thick, dense atmosphere made of steam on these planets. Only under that steam atmosphere there could potentially be liquid water at high pressure, or even water in another phase that occurs at high pressures, called a supercritical fluid," Piaulet said.

>The researchers had another surprise: they found that the two water worlds Kepler-138c and d are “twin” planets, with virtually the same size and mass, while they were previously thought to be drastically different.

Nature Astronomy, 2022. DOI 10.1038/s41550-022-01835-4


other_usernames_gone t1_j0fsgpy wrote

Can high pressure liquid water be used by life? Same with supercritical water or even steam?

I suppose the answer is probably we won't know until we find life that does, but theoretically speaking.


YouAreGenuinelyDumb t1_j0hf37i wrote

High pressure liquid water can be used by life, as we have some examples on Earth like extremophiles and deep sea marine life.

I don’t know enough about supercritical fluids to answer that one. I think steam could be used by organisms, but I would presume that they would condense it to liquid water for their actual use.


linkdude212 t1_j0f0fzh wrote

I was gonna say thank you for not calling them "Super-Earths" but then I read the article and got disappointed.


avalonian422 t1_j0favoq wrote

Earth is the most super earth there is, yaknow... because it has life


serbo_Stev t1_j0gosm2 wrote

::Somewhere:: Kevin Costner: Heavy Breathing


Spawn1621 t1_j0f6sus wrote

Can we just go ahead and aim the JWST at it please?


Sufferment t1_j0f8tia wrote

What do you expect to see? Even if it's a waterworld, you won't find Kevin Costner.


PancakeExprationDate t1_j0fblj2 wrote

> Even if it's a waterworld, you won't find Kevin Costner.

Or would we? -queue the x-files theme-


LudSable t1_j0g3pqx wrote

Maybe they'll find Saul Goodman instead.


laserwolf2000 t1_j0h9uw2 wrote

Jwst has been looking at the Trappist system which is the most interesting system for habitable worlds


domino2064 t1_j0jmhp8 wrote

Assuming the planets haven't been stripped of their atmospheres. That's the huge unknown with red dwarfs right now, is whether or not they're stable enough to not turn their planets into baren rocks as a consequence of their tantrums.


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5150Mojo t1_j0ggtql wrote

I got sector 69 of one of those babies, I done claimed it…


slabby t1_j0hagsu wrote

Finally, somewhere we can go and drink our own pee


OldCheese352 t1_j0hdqxs wrote

Perfect timing with the new avatar movie. I’m just saying…