The Azerbaijan State News Agency


Planet GJ1214b `has more water than Earth`, say scientists

Baku, March 7 (AZERTAC). Huge quantities of water vapour have been detected on a `super-Earth` 40 light years away – even more water than exists here.

What`s more, researchers believe that it once lingered in the so-called `Goldilocks Zone` near its star, before wandering closer in and heating up.

It means it could have played host to alien life millions of years ago...

Astronomers at America`s Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) used the Hubble Space Telescope to probe the planet - discovered in 2009 and codenamed GJ1214b - and proved that it is a waterworld enshrouded by a thick, steamy atmosphere.

`GJ1214b is like no planet we know of,` said astronomer Zachory Berta. `A huge fraction of its mass is made up of water.`

Theorists expect that GJ1214b formed farther out from its star, where water ice was plentiful, and migrated inward early in the system`s history.

In the process, it would have passed through the star`s habitable zone. How long it lingered there is unknown.

Two years ago CfA astronomers using the European Southern Observatory`s 3.6m telescope in Chile discovered possible evidence of water on the planet – now this has been confirmed by Hubble.

This super-Earth is about 2.7 times Earth`s diameter and weighs almost seven times as much.

It orbits a red-dwarf star in the constellation Ophiuchus every 38 hours at a distance of 1.3million miles - 70 times closer than the Earth is to the Sun - giving it an estimated temperature of 450F (232C).

Berta and his co-authors used Hubble`s infrared spectrometer to study GJ1214b when it crossed in front of its host star.

During such a transit, the star`s light is filtered through the planet`s atmosphere, giving clues to the mix of gases.

They found the spectrum of GJ1214b to be featureless over a wide range of wavelengths, or colours.

The atmospheric model most consistent with the Hubble data is a dense atmosphere of water vapour.

`The Hubble measurements really tip the balance in favour of a steamy atmosphere,` said Berta.

In fact, after calculating the planet`s mass, size and density, the researchers concluded that GJ1214b has much more water than Earth, and much less rock.

As a result, the internal structure of GJ1214b would be very different than our world.

`The high temperatures and high pressures would form exotic materials like “hot ice” or “superfluid water” - substances that are completely alien to our everyday experience,` said Berta.

Astronomer Dr Heather Couper was very excited by the team`s results and hopes that follow-up tests for signs of life will be carried out.

She told MailOnline: `There`s overwhelming evidence that there`s water on the planet. It shows that water could be common in the universe. It`s a most most exciting thing.

`It`s essential to do follow-up observations for these planets to see if they`re emitting radio waves. I hope we home in on that.`

Mark Birkinshaw, the William P Coldrick Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at the University of Bristol, meanwhile, believes that life may once have been present on GJ1214b - and still could be.

He said: `The problem with GJ1214b is that the water is supposed to be close to boiling at the moment. So if it migrated inwards from further out, where it might have picked up the water, then it might once have held life, but that life is likely now to be extinct.

`That is, unless it`s managed the trick of moving deep into the dark parts of the oceans, and is behaving like the tube worms that are found deep in our oceans, near black smoker vents.

`But there are presumably a lot more ways that life can behave than we know and some extreme-loving species could certainly be present.


Share news on social media

Follow us on social network

Trump trial gets underway in New York with jury selection in historic case

Release of the Press Service of the President

Tree-planting campaign held in Baku

Renovated courtyards handed over to residents with participation of Leyla Aliyeva

Baku presents official poster of ISSF World Cup

World Bank welcomes “ASAN service" concept

Azerbaijan name 7 gymnasts to compete in FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup - AG Trophy in Baku

US NSA Jake Sullivan postpones India visit amid Middle East crisis

Coral reefs hit by fourth global bleaching event

Azerbaijan, ACWA Power discuss cooperation on onshore and offshore wind energy projects

Azerbaijan exports crude oil and oil products worth about $3.5 billion in Q1 2024

Abu Dhabi playing host to 14th Assembly of International Renewable Energy Agency

Memorandum of Understanding on establishing Türkiye-Azerbaijan University approved - ORDER

bp begins oil production from major new platform offshore Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan exports 67.600 tons of petroleum coke in Q1 2024

Mexico City records record-high temperature of 34.2C

Copenhagen fire: Spire collapses as historic stock exchange engulfed by flames

World's fastest camera captures footage at 156 trillion frames per second

Tesla lays off ‘more than 10 percent’ of its workforce, loses top executives

® First quarter 2024 financial results revealed by Kapital Bank

President Ilham Aliyev laid foundation stone for Shirvan irrigation canal in Hajigabul district
The head of state addressed the event VIDEO

Azerbaijan will also become a reliable green hydrogen supplier for EU, says Energy Minister

UEFA Champions League quarterfinal 2nd leg to kick off with 2 matches

Azerbaijani gymnasts to flight for glory at Czech Aerobic Open 2024

Türkiye’s 1st indigenous Earth observation satellite completes 1st year in space

Azerbaijan, Türkiye exchange mutual experience in military information field

Military ammunition found in Azerbaijan’s Jabrayil district

President Ilham Aliyev: We are doing everything in a planned manner in order to obtain maximum efficiency from every inch of land VIDEO

President: We now have full possession of our water resources

President Ilham Aliyev: Caspian Sea water desalination project is underway

President of Azerbaijan: We are implementing large-scale work in Karabakh and Eastern Zangezur that is unmatched on a global scale VIDEO

President: Many infrastructure projects have been solved in Azerbaijan

Major infrastructure projects facing the government in the coming years disclosed

President: Efficient utilization of water resources is our primary task

Azerbaijani President: The Shirvan canal will be our largest project in terms of water volume and coverage of farmland

President: After the Shirvan irrigation canal has been put into operation, Lake Hajigabul will also be filled

President Ilham Aliyev: Among infrastructure projects implemented in Azerbaijan in recent years, Shirvan irrigation canal holds special importance

Australia: 15-year-old arrested over Sydney church stabbing

South Caucasus is a region of growing importance, says Kazakh expert

Baku hosting Azerbaijan Insurtech Summit for first time

Combined Arms Army conducts technical inspection of auto vehicles

UN’s Indigenous Issues Permanent Forum opens session focused on youth voices

Baku Book Center hosts presentation of methodological manual “Azerbaijani language proficiency level requirements”

Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication transferred all information systems to "Government Cloud"

Azerbaijan, Serbia explore current state and prospects of strategic partnership

China's GDP expands 5.3 pct year on year in Q1

Oil prices go up in global markets

Azerbaijani oil price declines in global markets

Azerbaijani FM meets with President of Uzbekistan

Geneva hosts International Day of Nowruz

Canton Fair opens in China with surge in overseas purchasers

Turkish foreign minister, UN chief discuss recent regional developments

ANAMA highlights Azerbaijan's mine action efforts in liberated territories

Nadal confirms comeback at Barcelona Open, to face Cobolli

Seventeen in hospital after football fans’ minibus crashes in West Yorkshire

® Baku Steel Company CJSC represents Azerbaijan in Dusseldorf

® Kapital Bank introduces exciting “50 gün 50 hədiyyə” (“50 days 50 gifts”) lottery

Bulgaria to host European, Balkan Cups in whitewater rafting in April

Academician Zarifa Aliyeva commemorated in Ukraine

Azerbaijan, Oman explore prospects for bilateral relations

BHOS hosts meeting with students and graduates selected to participate in SOCAR's ‘Young Talents’ program

ANAMA: 725 unexploded ordnances neutralized over past week

US forces intercepted more than 80 attack drones and at least 6 ballistic missiles from Iran and Yemen, says Central Command

UN Youth Climate Champion outlines measures to ensure young people's involvement in global processes

Azerbaijani taekwondo fighters claim two medals in Belgrade

Azerbaijani female gymnasts claim seven golds in Bishkek tournament

Azerbaijan’s population hits 10,187 million

COP29 Presidency holds first press conference

12 killed in weather-related accidents in Oman

Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum Pipeline accounted for over 50.1 percent of Azerbaijan’s gas transportation

Jeyhun Bayramov: Armenia must reciprocate Azerbaijan's efforts towards peace and construction in the region

BTC pipeline transports over 9 million tons of oil in January-March 2024

Azerbaijan’s Energy Minister to attend Green Hydrogen Summit and 14th Session of Irena Assembly

‘Main topics of COP29 negotiations are under comprehensive discussion with all parties’

Over 15,600 residential buildings in Russia affected by floods

Apple loses top phonemaker spot to Samsung as iPhone shipments drop, IDC says

® Azercell continues to support “Youth Can!" project

COP29 website set to launch this week

Azerbaijan unveils COP29 logo

President Ilham Aliyev extends congratulations to President-elect of Slovakia Peter Pellegrini

To His Excellency Mr. Peter Pellegrini, President-elect of the Slovak Republic

COP29 President-Designate: The green transition is among Azerbaijan's national priorities VIDEO

Baku Stadium chosen as the venue for COP29 VIDEO

30 killed in rain-related incidents in Pakistan VIDEO

Self-driving cars safety project launched

COP29 CEO: Whole world will focus its attention on Baku in November this year VIDEO

3 killed in Mexico helicopter crash

Magnitude 3.2 quake jolts Azerbaijan’s Imishli district

Boxer Omar Aslanli seals Azerbaijan`s another gold at European Championships

Azerbaijani FM holds meeting with Uzbek counterpart

Azerbaijani judo team triumphs at Berlin Cadet European Cup 2024

Global oil prices drop

Aston Villa shock Arsenal, allow Manchester City stay on top of English Premier League

Udinese vs. Roma match in Italy abandoned after player collapses

Bayer Leverkusen win first-ever German Bundesliga title

Azerbaijani boxer claims European crown

Azerbaijan Defense Minister meets with the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan embarks on working visit to Uzbekistan

Azerbaijan women’s 3x3 national basketball team qualifies for Paris 2024 Summer Olympics

Azerbaijani Minister of Defense pays official visit to Jordan