Thursday, July 18, 2024

‘Eyeball’ planet spied by James Webb telescope might be habitable

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has found that a distant world discovered several years ago could be an “eyeball” planet with an iris-like ocean surrounded by a sea of solid ice — making it a candidate for a potentially habitable world.

The exoplanet, called LHS-1140b, was first discovered in 2017. Initially, it was thought to be a “mini-Neptune” swirling with a dense mixture of water, methane and ammonia. But the new findings, accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and available on the preprint server arXiv, suggest that the planet is icier and wetter than scientists thought. That means it could support life.

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