HomeAstronomy & SpaceExtreme exoplanet has a complex and exotic atmosphere

Extreme exoplanet has a complex and exotic atmosphere

An international crew consisting of researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva as well as the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS analyzed the atmosphere of one of the most intense regarded planets in notable details. The consequences from this warm, Jupiter-like planet that turned into first characterized with the help of the CHEOPS space telescope, may help astronomers recognize the complexities of many other exoplanets—such as Earth-like planets.

The ecosystem of Earth is not a uniform envelope but includes wonderful layers that each have different characteristic. The lowest layer that spans from sea level past the highest mountain peaks, for instance the troposphere includes maximum of the water vapor and is accordingly the layer wherein most climate phenomena occur. The layer above it the stratosphere is the only that incorporates the famous ozone layer that shields us from the Sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

In a new study posted in Nature Astronomy, a worldwide group of researchers led by the University of Lund show for the first time that the surroundings of one of the most recognised planets might also have further wonderful layers as well albeit of very exclusive traits.

An exotic cocktail for an atmosphere

WASP-189b is a planet outside our very own sun machine, placed 322 light years from Earth. Extensive observations with the CHEOPS space telescope in 2020 found out among different matters that the planet is 20 times closer its host star than Earth is to the Sun and has a daytime temperature of 3200 degree Celsius. Latest investigations with the HARPS spectrograph on the La Silla Observatory in Chile now for the first time allowed the researchers to take a more in-depth look at the environment of this Jupiter-like planet.

According to the researchers, the gasses that left their fingerprints inside the environment of WASP-189b covered with iron, chromium, vanadium, magnesium and manganese.

An “Ozone layer” on a blisteringly hot planet?

One mainly interesting substance the crew observed is a gas containing titanium: titanium oxide. While titanium oxide may be very scarce on Earth, it could play an important role in the environment of WASP-189b—just like that of ozone in Earth’s environment.

The scientists found hints for this kind of layer and other layers on the ultra-warm Jupiter-like planet. These consequences may additionally change how astronomers investigate exoplanets.


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