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According to Nasa.gov:

Details: Ocean planets are long imagined but difficult to confirm, and TOI-1452 b is no different. About 70% larger than Earth, and roughly five times as massive, its density could be consistent with having a very deep ocean. But more follow-up will be needed. The planet also might be a huge rock, with little or no atmosphere. It could even be a rocky planet with an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

The new super-earth is said to have a density that is "consistent with having a very deep ocean". What does this mean and how is this calculated? The article unfortunately provides no more details as more information is needed to be gathered from the planet.

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More details can be found in "TOI-1452 b: SPIRou and TESS Reveal a Super-Earth in a Temperate Orbit Transiting an M4 Dwarf".

The water planet possibility discussions starts on page 14.

What they are essentially saying is that you could have a water planet with this mass and radius. That is, the then required composition of the interior would be within what models say are normal.

They mention two other possibilities though:

(2) a bare rock with an iron content less than that of Earth
(3) a terrestrial planet with a thin, low molecular weight atmosphere (e.g., H–He)

That's a big range of possibilities, which shouldn't be surprising since the only things we know are the mass, radius and orbital radius of the planet.

Rephrased: "This could be a water planet. There's nothing wrong with it"

Another thing that doesn't disagree with this being a water planet is the surface temperature. By making a guess at the albedo of the planet, they can use the orbital radius to estimate an equilibrium temperature of 298 ± 6 K. Liquid water could exist at those temperatures.

But the bottom line is that "consistent with" is a much less exciting thing than one may initially get the impression of when that's the only part that makes it into a popular science article.

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you find anything about the very deep ocean? $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Sep 19 at 13:13
  • $\begingroup$ "(1) an ocean planet" is the language used. $\endgroup$ Sep 19 at 13:15

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