Worlds Full of Water

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Water worlds: Closeup of crescent planet, with two distant planets near its star.

2 alien water worlds with oceans 500 times deeper than Earth’s

Posted by

Paul Scott Anderson

January 2, 2023

Astronomers said in December 2022 that they’ve identified the first true water worlds, unlike any in our solar system. These exoplanets are both slightly larger than Earth. Yet their density lies between that of a rocky world like ours, and our solar system’s gas-giant outer planets. These astronomers believe these worlds must have global oceans at least 500 times deeper than the average depth of Earth’s oceans, which, by contrast, they called simply a wet veneer on a rocky ball.

The two worlds orbit a red dwarf star called Kepler-138, which is 218 light-years away in the direction of our constellation Lyra the Harp. Scientists have theorized that global water worlds like these exist. They’ve had some tantalizing hints before now. But these are the first specific worlds for which there is now good evidence. The astronomers made the discovery using data from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.

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