Astronomers using images obtained with the orbiting observatory "Hubble" was able to confirm the existence of a new class of planet - water world with a thick and dense atmosphere. Extrasolar planet GJ 1214b is the so-called "super Earth" because it is more than our planet, but less than those of gas giants such as Jupiter.
Observations made with the telescope "Hubble" is now confirmed that the majority of exoplanets of water. The high temperatures prevailing in the world point to the possibility of the existence in it of exotic materials.
"GJ 1214b is not like any one of the planets known to us" - said the study’s lead author burial Bertha (Zachory Berta) of the Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University.
The planet was discovered in 2009, ground-based telescopes. It is almost 2.7 times larger than Earth in diameter and almost seven times the mass of our planet. "Super Earth" orbitiruet its red dwarf star at a distance of only two million kilometers, meaning that the temperature on GJ 1214b probably reach above 200C. In 2010, astronomers reported the results of its study of the atmosphere, which showed that the atmosphere of GJ 1214b was apparently created out of the water. However, there is another assumption - the planet is shrouded in a haze, similar to the one that covers Saturn’s moon Titan.
Dr. Burt and his colleagues used a wide-angle camera space telescope "Hubble" to study the planet at the time of its passage across the disk dwarf stars. During the so-called transit, the star’s light rays pass through the atmosphere of the planet and faced with the contained molecules of gases and water vapor.
The researchers noted that their results are more consistent with the theory of a dense atmosphere, consisting of a thick water vapor than the assumption of the presence of haze. Calculating the density of the planet also show that GJ 1214b is more water than Earth. This means that the internal structure of the world must be very different from the structure of our world.
"High temperature and pressure must be the basis for the formation of the planet such exotic materials, such as" hot ice "or" superfluid water ", a substance that will never come across in everyday life on Earth" - said Dr. Bert.
The relatively short distance of the planet from the Earth will have to observe it with the James Webb Space Telescope, which may be launched by the end of this decade. The analysis has been accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal.