Somewhere out there amongst the countless stars in the cosmos, scientists think there may be a "Super-Earth" packed full with the basic building block of life: good ol' H2O. Wednesday, a group of scientists published a study examining the exoplanet named TOI-1452b, a celestial body some 100 light years away from Earth that finds itself in the "Goldilocks zone" of its respective solar system, the ideal area for a planet to reside to be able to harbor life as we know it.
TOI-1452b is just far enough from its star that liquid water could form. It's not too close to the star that the water evaporates, neither is it so far away the water freezes. Researchers apart of the study say the planet could be similar to some of Jupiter's and Saturn's moons in that it's completely covered in water.
"I'm extremely proud of this discovery because it shows the high caliber of our researchers and instrumentation," Université de Montréal Professor René Doyon said in a press release accompanying the story. "It is thanks to the OMM, a special instrument designed in our labs called SPIRou, and an innovative analytic method developed by our research team that we were able to detect this one-of-a-kind exoplanet."
Doyon and the University of Montreal crew used NASA's TESS telescope—the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite—to conduct their research.
"TOI-1452 b is one of the best candidates for an ocean planet that we have found to date," astronomer Charles Cadieux added. "Its radius and mass suggest a much lower density than what one would expect for a planet that is basically made up of metal and rock, like Earth."
Now that the Webb Space Telescope is in full operation, Doyon hopes to expand on the study by collecting more data with the record-setting observatory.
"Our observations with the Webb Telescope will be essential to better understanding TOI-1452 b," the researcher concluded. "As soon as we can, we will book time on Webb to observe this strange and wonderful world."
The group's full study can be seen here.