20 December 2009


GJ 1214b is the second exoplanet (after CoRoT-7b) discovered to have an established mass and radius less than those of the gas giants of our solar system. It is an oceanic plant (75% water with a 25% rock core), with a possible hydrogen and helium atmosphere. Life there would be a rather warm experience, with temperatures ranging from 120-282 dC, or 248-549 dF. The planet has a radius approximately 2.7 times that of earth, and orbits star GJ 1214 in the constellation Ophiuchus, approximately 40 light years from Earth. Above is an artist's rendition of the planet, and below is a size comparison chart -- Earth, GJ 1214b, and Neptune. As always, click on any image to enlarge.

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