October 7, 2021 11:22 GMT
Half of WASP-76b always faces sunlight, causing it to reach temperatures above 2,400 degrees Celsius, causing the minerals to evaporate.
The fiery and infernal exoplanet WASP-76b – Jupiter is so hot that iron evaporates, condenses and then falls from the sky like rain – could be even hot than scientists thought.
A team of researchers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom ad This Tuesday I found ionized calcium On the giant planetIt is located in the constellation of Pisces about 640 light-years from Earth, which indicates a warmer atmosphere than previous estimates. The discovery was made thanks to the analysis of high-resolution spectra obtained with the ground-based Gemini North telescope, which is installed near the summit of the dormant volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii.
Discovered in 2016, WASP-76b is moving so fast around its star that its year lasts only 1.8 Earth days. But an exoplanet takes as long to complete its orbit as it takes time to rotate around its axis, and it follows Just show a side to your starWhile the other side is always in the dark. By constantly receiving heat from the star, its diurnal side is exposed to temperatures rising above 2,400 degrees Celsius, causing molecules to separate into atoms and metals such as iron to evaporate into the atmosphere.
The researchers examined the temperate temperature region, at the edge of the planet that separates it the day side of the night. “The exoplanet is moving rapidly in its orbit, and in this way we were able to separate its signals from the starlight,” explained Emily Diebert, a doctoral student at the University of Toronto (Canada) and co-author of the study. published Last week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. “You can see that the trace of calcium in the spectra is moving very quickly with the planet,” he added.
“We see a lot of calcium; it’s a really powerful property,” said the scientist. This spectroscopic signature of ionized calcium could indicate the presence of an exoplanet Very strong winds in the upper atmosphere. Or that the temperature of the atmosphere of an exoplanet is much higher than we thought.”
Now, astronomers continue to deepen their understanding of the exoplanets, which were considered a dream only two decades ago. “Our work and the work of other researchers is paving the way Explore the atmospheres of terrestrial worlds outside our solar systemsaid Jake Turner, a fellow at NASA’s Hubble Program.
“It is surprising that using modern telescopes and instruments, we can learn a lot about the atmospheres of planets — their components, physical properties, the presence of clouds, even large-scale wind patterns — that orbit stars hundreds of light-years away,” said Ray Jayawardhana, a professor of astronomy at Cornell University (USA).
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