Technology & Science

Distant, hot world mostly ice: scientists

European scientists on Wednesday reported that they had found a hot, Neptune-sized planet that was mostly made of ice.

European scientists on Wednesday reported that they had found a far-off, hot Neptune-sized planet that is mostly made of ice.

The planet GJ 436b appears to have a surface temperature of about 250 C, a team of Swiss and Belgian researchers reported. But the water stays frozen due to extremely high pressure.

"The water is frozen by the pressure but it's hot. It's a bit strange — we are used to water changing conditions because of temperature, but in fact water can also be solidified by pressure," Frederic Pont told Reuters news service.

The planet orbits a red star about 33 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year.

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