In 2017, they discovered a water vapor atmosphere that glowed because it was so hot.
Iron and magnesium gases are escaping the atmosphere of WASP-121b, a hot Jupiter located around 880 light-years from Earth, according to new research published today in the Astronomical Journal. The powerful gravitational forces have altered the planet's shape so that it appears more football shaped.The WASP-121 system is about 900 light-years from Earth. The escaping magnesium and iron gas may also contribute to the temperature spike.
Eventually, this hot Jupiter will be torn to shreds by its host star. "So you don't know if they are escaping or not. This presents an opportunity to observe and understand some very interesting physics". The observations represent the first time that heavy metals have been detected.
"Heavy metals have been seen in other hot Jupiters before, but only in the lower atmosphere", David Sing, lead author of the study from Johns Hopkins University, said in a statement. Additionally, the exoplanet is also described as "so big and puffy" that its gravity is relatively weak compared to other planets, making it easier for the gases to escape. "This is a planet being actively stripped of its atmosphere".
Other known hot Jupiters contain clouds of heavier elements in their atmosphere because they're still cool enough to condense the elements.
At the same time, intense radiation from the host star is heating WASP-121b's upper atmosphere to temperatures exceeding 2200 Kelvin (1927 degrees Celsius). Given the extreme conditions on WASP-121b, the scientists were trying to see if the escaping of heavy metal gases was indeed possible. "It's a very efficient mechanism for mass loss". This atmosphere dissipates as a planet moves closer to its star. Hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements throughout the universe, so they're common building blocks for the young planet atmospheres.
WASP-121b is so hot that the planet has puffed up beyond its ability to hold onto its own atmosphere, and is instead streaming it away as it flies around its star every 30 hours. Yet the hot exoplanet still has an atmosphere.
"These planets are so heavily irradiated by their host stars, they're nearly like stars themselves". "Ones that are this hot are even rarer still", Deming added. Cape Canaveral space freighter "Dragon" launches to the ISS North Dakota biology Student finds a 65 million year old Triceratops skull Study of the University of Bern climate change has always existed - why this is different than all previously tips and Tricks What do dogs, Cats and rabbits against heat helps search game this is a picture of 16 animals hide - recognize them all?
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of worldwide cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency).