Straight out of a Kevin Costner movie, scientist say that a planet named GJ1214b, discovered in 2009 by the MEarth Project, is covered almost completely in water with a thick steamy atmosphere.
The researchers at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics have analyzed data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, of the planet, and say that it is the first planet of its kind to be confirmed of not being dominated by rock or a gas but of water.
Astronomer Zachary Berta says, “GJ1214b is like no planet we know of, a huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.”
GJ1214b is considered to be a “super-Earth,” as it is 2,7 times larger then our own and weighs 7 times more.
From the Hubble data, they determined that even though the planet is covered in water it is not a cool place. Scientists say as it crosses in front of it star, temperatures reach 450 degrees on its surface. Which causes the thick steamy atmosphere.
“The Hubble measurements really tips the balance in favor of a steamy atmosphere,” Berta said.
The planet and it star is 40 light-years from our planet. GJ1214b circles its dim star at a distance of 1.3 million miles every 38 hours. Our distance from our sun is 92.9 million miles.