Researchers Studying Planetary Atmospheres Reveal New Information About Saturn-Like Exoplanet | NSF


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Researchers studying planets’ atmospheres reveal new information about Saturn-like exoplanet

Atmospheric temperature and winds of the exoplanet are much higher than previous estimates

A graphic of iron rain falling on the exoplanet WASP-76b

October 19, 2021

A team of international researchers has discovered that the flaming exoplanet known as WASP-76B, about 640 light years from Earth, is even hotter than previously thought. The researchers, funded by the US National Science Foundation, published the results in Letters from the astrophysical journal.

Scientists have captured high-resolution spectra of ionized calcium on the exoplanet, indicating extreme air temperatures or winds. WASP-76b, discovered in 2016 and known as “Hot Jupiter” for its extremely high temperature, orbiting its F-type star (which is hotter than Earth’s sun) in 1.8 Earth days.

“As we remote sensing dozens of exoplanets, spanning a range of masses and temperatures, we will develop a more complete picture of the true diversity of alien worlds – from those warm enough to harbor iron rains to others with more moderate climates, from those heavier than Jupiter to others not much bigger than Earth, ”said co-author Ray Jayawardhana, astronomer at Cornell University.

“It is remarkable that with today’s telescopes and instruments, we can learn so much about the atmospheres – the constituents, the physical properties, the presence of clouds and even the large-scale winds – of the planets. that orbit stars hundreds of light years away. “


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