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Space Science

Astronomers Confirm a Hot and Steamy Exoplanet 66

The Bad Astronomer writes "The extrasolar planet GJ 1214b was discovered in 2009 orbiting a nearby (40 light year distant) red dwarf star. The planet was quickly found to have a thick atmosphere, but it wasn't known at the time if the composition was water vapor or a hazy shroud of particulates. New Hubble observations confirm the atmosphere of the exoplanet is rich in water, comprising up to 50% of the atmosphere's mass (PDF). At 230 degrees Celsius, this means the planet is shrouded in steam."
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Astronomers Confirm a Hot and Steamy Exoplanet

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  • by Viol8 (599362) on Wednesday February 22, 2012 @07:12AM (#39123163) Homepage

    Even if it doesn't spiral into the star the UV will be slowly splitting the water into its component parts and the hydrogen will disappear off into space. What happens to the O2 after that is anyones guess - perhaps it'll react with whatever rock is there or perhaps it'll end up as a huge oxygen atmosphere.

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