February 26, 2012 13:07
The object of research is the planet GJ1214b, which belongs to a class of super-Earths (which means that it is less than the size of Earth and Uranus). The planet was discovered in 2009 in the system at a distance of 40 light years from Earth in the constellation Ophiuchus. Mass of the exoplanet is about 6.5, and the radius of the earth — 2.7 earth.
The orbital period of GJ1214b — about 1.58 days. The planet is very close to its star and its temperature is over 3 thousand degrees Celsius. Immediately after the discovery of the planet have hypothesized that in the atmosphere may be present water. However, to prove this hypothesis was not enough data — particularly the data could be explained by a rarefied gas cloud enveloping the planet.
Astrophysicists were able to establish that the water vapor in the atmosphere GJ1214b is (that is, the hypothesis of a gas cloud discarded) and its quite a lot. Such planets are completely new class of super-Earths water.
According to one of the study's authors, Zachary Burt, because of the high temperature and pressure on the planet can be quite exotic substances — for example, hot ice (that is, the crystalline form of water, both at a high enough temperature) and the superfluid water (ie liquid current without internal friction due to quantum effects).