NASA, Hubble studies the hottest planetary atmospheres ever recorded

While waiting to leave the baton at the James Webb telescope, launched last Christmas, Hubble with his 30-year space career behind him, he continues to provide valuable insights into the mysteries of the cosmos. The latest discovery communicated by NASA concerns the study of some Jupiter-sized exoplanets and particularly close to their star. These particular conditions mean that the temperatures of the planetary atmosphere are the highest ever recordedwith values ​​exceeding 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit (i.e. approx 1,648 degrees celsius).

As it is easy to imagine, the weather conditions are consequently slightly prohibitive, capable of vaporising the majority of metals, including titans. And so on one planet (WASP-178b) there are precipitation of vaporized rockwhile on another (KELT-20b) the upper atmosphere becomes warmer rather than colder because it is heated by the intense ultraviolet radiation of the nearby star.


Studies such as these obviously not only serve to rank the most inhospitable planets in the universe, but offer researchers a better insight into the diversity, complexity and exotic chemistry that take place in distant worlds within our galaxy as David explains. Sing ella Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland:

We still don’t have a good understanding of the weather conditions in different planetary environments. As for the Earth, all of our weather forecasts are still perfectly tuned to what we can measure. But when we turn our gaze to a distant exoplanet our predictive capabilities are limited, because we have not built a general theory of how everything in an atmosphere merges and reacts to extreme conditions. Even though we know basic chemistry and physics, we don’t know how it will then manifest itself in complex ways.


An article appeared on Nature on April 7 he described the observations of the Hubble telescope relating to the exoplanet WASP-178b, which is about 1,300 light-years away from us. On the daytime side, the atmosphere is devoid of new ones and is rich in gaseous silicon monoxide. Since one side of the planet always faces its star, the torrid atmosphere is pushed towards the night side at superhurricane speeds of over 3,000 km / h.

The silicon monoxide on the dark side can cool down to condense, thus causing the rocky precipitations which we mentioned earlier. Both at sunrise and sunset, however, the atmosphere is hot enough to vaporize the rock directly.

Another study, published in theAstrophysical Journal Lettersfocuses on the hot Jovian KELT-20b, planet 400 light years away from earth. Here the blast of ultraviolet light from the parent star is creating a thermal layer in the atmosphere similar to the Earth’s stratosphere: it’s about a a particularly important discovery since until now it had never been observed directly how the host star can affect the atmosphere of a planet.

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