Potentially habitable ocean planet found 100 light-years from Earth

(ORDO NEWS) — Super-Earth TOI-1452 b is completely covered in liquid water, making it suitable for life to develop. And thanks to the close distance and good location of the planet, it is especially convenient to observe it.

An international team of astronomers has discovered the exoplanet TOI-1452 b, which orbits one of the stars of the binary system, located in the constellation Draco, just a hundred light-years away.

It is in the “habitable zone” of its star – at a distance where it is not too hot and not too cold, because of which liquid water can be stably present on the surface of the planet.

Moreover, scientists believe that the water covers it entirely, making TOI-1452 b a potentially habitable ocean planet.

Charles Cadieux and his colleagues relied on observational data from the TESS space telescope, which is searching for distant exoplanets.

The instrument made it possible to notice the regular dimming of one of the stars in the TOI-1452 binary system.

Such a picture may indicate the presence of the planet. Therefore, the Canadian-French-American CFHT telescope operating in Hawaii was used to further observe the candidate, which confirmed the find and provided additional details about this world.

The binary TOI-1452 consists of two M-class red dwarf stars. They are separated by about 97 astronomical units about 2.5 times the distance from the Sun to Pluto and complete one revolution around each other in 1,400 Earth years.

The exoplanet discovered by astronomers is in a tight orbit around one of these dwarfs, going through a full annual cycle in 11.1 days. By staying close to its dim star, scientists estimate that TOI-1452b does not leave its habitable zone and can stably retain large amounts of liquid moisture.

Potentially habitable ocean planet found 100 light years from Earth 2
Landscape of the ocean planet TOI-1452 b with a red dwarf above the horizon: artist’s view

The exoplanet itself belongs to the class of super-Earths: it has a solid surface, but is 1.7 times larger and 4.8 times heavier than ours.

At the same time, such a ratio of radius and mass shows that the average density of TOI-1452b is noticeably lower than can be expected from a body that is composed mainly of metals and stony rocks, like the Earth.

That is why astronomers assume that a large part of the planet is its hydrosphere, and these are huge masses of water.

Scientists estimate that water can account for up to 22 percent of the mass of TOI-1452b, it surrounds the planet with a deep and endless ocean.

For comparison, the Earth, despite the status of the “Blue Planet”, contains only about 1% of it. A stable climate, moderate temperatures, and abundant moisture are the key factors that have made TOI-1452b a long list of potentially habitable worlds.

This is not the first ocean planet known today, and not even the closest to us. Last year, such a world was found near the star L 98-59, which is almost three times closer.

However, TOI-1452b is extremely convenient for further study, since it is in the field of view of the latest James Webb space telescope and can be observed almost constantly.


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