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Exoplanetary Scratchpad

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A red dwarf system containing the first exoplanet discovered by the MEarth project, which seeks to detect transiting Earth-like planets around nearby red dwarves, and the second transiting super-Earth. The planet is the first of a new class of planets with low mass and low density. Atmospheric observations suggest it is not a terrestrial with an outgassed (mostly Hydrogen/Helium) atmosphere, nor a Neptune-like world (Hydrogen/Methane mix). Instead it would be a new class of water worlds, with a bulk of its mass made of water. The temperature is too hot for liquid water and not thought to have a solid surface, so it could be covered with hot ice (plasma water). Its featureless spectrum (the first Super Earth atmosphere ever studied) prompted further investigation by Hubble. No chemical fingerprints were detected in its atmosphere despite high sensitivity, leading to conclusive evidence that high altitude clouds were preventing any detection (ruling out the possibility that heavier elements in the atmosphere were compressing the atmosphere, making it hard to detect, which may be the case for other planets with no detected chemicals). These are the first clouds proven around a super-Earth. It may be the coolest transiting planet detected. Its close proximity (under 50 ly) assures promising future observation.

GJ 1214 System Web Pages[]

GJ 1214 System In the News[]

Possible Water World Detected (2009)[]

Atmosphere Measured (Dec 2010)[]

Some Super Earths More Like Mini Neptunes[]

See Kepler-11 System, Gliese 1214 System, 55 Cancri System

Represents Low Mass Low Density Planets (Sep 2011)[]

See also CoRoT-7 System

Likely Has Thick Steamy Atmosphere (Feb 2012)[]

Mass-Radius Model Indicates an Extended H/He Atmosphere with Clouds on Top (Sep 2013)[]

Has Plasma Water Atmosphere (Oct 2013)[]

Ideal Test Case for Distinguishing Super Earths from Mini Neptunes (Oct 2013)[]

See also HD 97658 System, 55 Cancri System, Gliese 436 System

Cloud Cover Announced (Dec 2013)[]

See also Gliese 436 System, Kepler-7 System

See Also[]