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Discovering an exoplanet with a “boiling ocean” using the James Webb Telescope

Discovering an exoplanet with a “boiling ocean” using the James Webb Telescope

Since 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope has given experts the opportunity to dissect the universe like never before. NASA's spacecraft is helping gather new knowledge to better understand events that occur outside our solar system.

Recently, a telescope has allowed astronomers to detect “A water world with a boiling ocean” In space, according to exclusive information from guardian Broadcast on Friday, March 8. The implications of this discovery are not trivial, as they suggest that the distant planet could be completely covered by ocean. All of these elements contribute to the development of research related to the habitability of a planet, that is, the ability of an astronomical body to evolve and accommodate life.

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The most beautiful images from the James Webb Space Telescope

Scientific controversy

In detail, observations by NASA's James Webb Space Telescope have allowed astronomers to identify water vapor and chemical signatures of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of this exoplanet located about 70 light-years from our blue planet known as TOI-270. This chemical mixture is consistent with a watery world where the ocean covers the entire surface, as well as with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere, according to this team of researchers from the University of Cambridge. However, they do not envision a mild and hospitable maritime climate.

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“Ocean temperatures may exceed 100 degrees Celsius or more.”warns Professor Nico Madhusudan, who led the study published this week in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics Lettersquoted from a British newspaper. At high atmospheric pressure, such a warm ocean could be liquid, but it is still unclear whether it would be habitable.

Nico Madhusudan and his team favor this explanation, but it is disputed by Canadian researchers who have conducted additional observations on the same exoplanet, The Guardian reported. These scientists discovered the same chemicals found in the atmosphere, but they said the planet would be too hot for water to become liquid. According to them, it would instead present a rocky surface topped with an incredibly dense atmosphere of hydrogen and water vapor.

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Many other “ocean planets”.

New research will need to be done to clarify these recent observations that once again highlight the interest of a NASA telescope capable of capturing starlight filtered through the atmospheres of orbiting planets. The goal is to provide specialists with a detailed analysis of the chemical elements found there.

A lot of data allows astronomers to get an idea about the conditions on the planet's surface and the possibility of life thriving there or not.

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This information reminds us of an article published in December 2018 by National Geographic. Researchers from Harvard University, after classifying the 3,838 exoplanets discovered so far according to their size, published their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. They estimated that a third of these exoplanets would be half covered by water, while the oceans on our Earth cover about 70.8% of their surface. “It is certain that oceanic planets formed in a manner similar to the gas giants found in our solar system.”Li Zeng, an astronomer at Harvard University.