At just 40 light years from Earth, Gliese 1214b is one of the nearest Super-Earths we've discovered in our search for planets beyond the solar system. Now, a team of Japanese researchers say it could well be an "ocean world," abundant in good old H2O.

Above: An artist's depiction of GJ 1214b in transit

Via the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan:

The team investigated whether this planet has an atmosphere rich in water or hydrogen. The Subaru observations show that the sky of this planet does not show a strong Rayleigh scattering feature, which a cloudless hydrogen-dominated atmosphere would predict. When combined with the findings of previous observations in other colors, this new observational result implies that GJ 1214 b is likely to have a water-rich atmosphere.


Read the full study here. For additional details, head over to NAOJ's Subaru Telescope page.