Astronomers say WASP-121b has metallic clouds

Artist's illustration of hot Jupiter as a red-orange world, with its host star on the right.

Artist’s illustration of hot Jupiter in strange weather pattern.
Clarification: VFX Home Engine

New observations of a football-shaped exoplanet known as WASP-121b revealed evidence of it’s a the atmosphere and Atmosphere. Astronomers say It may be metallic clouds composed of iron and corundum, and titanium.

WASP-121b orbits a star 850 light-years from Earth and is twice the size of Jupiter. (Categorized as he ist Jupiterwhich means that a The gas giant that rotates relatively close she has star.) WASP-121b completes A revolution in just 30 hours – a little longer than Earth Day. like that It has a strange rectangular shapedue to the strong gravitational forces that the planet is subjected to.

But the really amazing element in The latest results are details of the planet’s climate. how it was The temperature drops at night And the It changes throughout the atmosphere. The team observed hot Jupiter using the Hubble Space Telescope, and study them He is published This week in Nature Astronomy.

Tansu Dylan, an MIT astrophysicist and co-author on the paper, said in a statement Institute release. “The night side of WASP-121b is about 10 times weaker than its day side.”

The dramatically different temperatures on both sides of the planet create a dynamic environment for the different particles floating around the atmosphere. in broad daylightAnd the Exploding water By about 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit And exploded to the night side of the planet by 11,000Miles per hour winds. “These winds are much faster than our jet stream, and they can probably move clouds across the entire planet in about 20 hours,” Dylan said.

On the night side, hydrogen and oxygen atoms combine, Only to wander back to the side of the day to split again. It is much more volatile than the water cycle on Earth than evaporation, condensation and rain, even when our world is at its most violent.

Moreover, the planet’s night side is cold enough that it may enhance clouds made of metal. Hot temperatures on the planet’s warm side can vaporize iron, corundum, and titanium, which could cause heavy metal rain to fall back on the cold side as gas clouds move around. Previously, another interesting planet – WASP 76b—showed signs Similar phenomenon.

Following up on Hubble’s recent observations, the team has set aside time to observe the newly launched rocket Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to begin scientific work this summer. (Currently, Webb He is Still being prepared.) They want to map carbon monoxide on the planet, which is what led author Thomas Michael Evans, an astrophysicist at MIT, He said It could help researchers understand how hot Jupiter is appearance.

In millions of years, tidal forces have persisted WASP121-b will rip planet far away. until that time, The planet will continue its extraordinary dance day and night.

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