a place where the weather forecast is always the same: burning temperatures,
relentlessly sunny and with no chance of rain. This hell
scenario exists on the permanent days of a type of planet that is outside ours
The solar system is called “ultrahot Jupiter”. These worlds run
extremely close to its stars, with one side of the planet permanently facing
Having puzzled scientists is why water vapor seems to miss from toasty
the world’s atmosphere, when it’s abundant in the likes but a little cooler
planets. Observations of ultra-hot Jupiters by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space
Telescope combined with computer simulations has served as a springboard
for a new theoretical study that may have solved this mystery.
For the new study, ultrahot Jupiters actually have the ingredients for
water (hydrogen and oxygen atoms). But because of strong irradiation on
The planet’s days, temperatures there become so intense that the water molecules are
Daysides of these worlds are furnaces that look more like a stellar atmosphere
than a planetary atmosphere, “said Vivien Parmentier, an astrophysician
Aix Marseille University in France and lead authors to the new study. “IN
In this way, ultrahot Jupiters extends what we think planets should look like
Telescopes like Spitzer and Hubble can gather some information about
daysides of ultrahot jupiter’s nightsides are hard for present
instrument to distinguish. The new paper proposes a model for what may be
happening on both the illuminated and dark sides of these planets, largely based
on observations and analysis of ultrahot Jupiter called WASP-1
from three recently published studies, coauthored by Parmentier, focusing on
the ultra-shot Jupiter’s WASP-103b, WASP-18b and HAT-P-7b, respectively. The new study suggests
the tough winds can blow the broken water molecules into the planets’
nightside hemispheres. On the cooler, dark side of the planet, the atoms can
recombined in molecules and condensed to clouds, all before driving back
into the daily page to be splintered again.
is not the only molecule that can undergo a cycle of chemical reincarnation
these planets, according to the new study. Previous discoveries of clouds of
Hubble at the border between day and night, where temperatures are merciful
falls, has shown that titanium oxide (popular as sunscreen) and aluminum
oxide (the root of ruby, gemstone) can also be rebooted on a molecular basis
the ultrahot Jupiter’s nightides. These materials can even form clouds and
rain down like liquid metals and floating rubies.
Star Planethy Brider
the growing catalog of planets outside our solar system – known as exoplanets
– Ultrahot Jupiters has stood out as a distinct class for about a decade.
Found in paths far closer to the host stars than Mercury is to our Sun, the
Gigantic planets are temporarily locked, which means that the same hemisphere always faces
the star, just like the moon always presents the same page on earth. As a result,
ultrahot Jupiter’s Dayides Broil in an everlasting afternoon. Meanwhile, their
Opposite hemispheres are seized by endless nights. Today’s temperatures reach
between 3 600 and 5 400 degrees Fahrenheit (2000 and 3000 degrees Celsius)
ranking ultrahot Jupiters among the hottest exoplanets on record. Night
The temperatures are about 1800 degrees Fahrenheit radiators (1000 degrees
Celsius), sufficiently cold for water to be transformed and together with other molecules,
gathered in clouds.
Jupiters, cousins to ultra-hot Jupiters with dayside temperatures below 3,600
degrees Fahrenheit (2000 Celsius), was the first commonly discovered type of
exoplanet, begins back in the mid 1990s. Water has proven to be common in
their atmospheres. A hypothesis of why it seemed absent in ultrahot
Jupiters have been that these planets must have been formed with very high levels of
carbon instead of oxygen. Nevertheless, the authors of the new study say this idea
do not explain the traces of water also sometimes detected at
breaking logjam, parmentions and colleagues took a cue from well-established
physical models of the atmospheres of stars as well as “failed.”
stars, “known as brown dwarves, whose properties overlap somewhat with hot
and ultrahot Jupiters. Parmentier adapted a brown dwarf model developed by Mark
Marley, one of the co-authors of the paper and a researcher at NASA’s Ames
Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, in the case of ultrahot
Jupiter. Treat the atmosphere of ultrahot Jupiter’s more like flaming stars
than conventional colder planets offered a way to make sense of Spitzer
and Hubble observations.
These studies, we bring some of the hundreds of years of knowledge gained from
studying astrophysics of stars, to the new research area
exoplanetic atmosphere, “said Parmentier.
observations in infrared light zeroed on carbon monoxide in ultrahot
Jupiter’s atmospheres. The atoms of carbon monoxide form an extremely strong
bond that can uniquely resist heat and radiation attack
daysides of these planets. The brightness of the hard carbon monoxide revealed
that the planet’s atmosphere burns warmer higher up than deeper down.
Parmentier said that verifying this temperature difference was the key for vetting
Hubble’s results without water, because a uniform atmosphere can also mask
signatures of water molecules.
Results are just the latest example of Spitzer used for the exoplanet
science – something that was not part of its original science festival “
said Michael Werner, project scientist for Spitzer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “In addition, it is always encouraging
to see what we can detect when researchers combine the power of Hubble and
Spitzer, two of NASA’s major observatories. “
The new model describes enough ultra-hot Jupiters on the books, some
Outliers continues to propose further aspects of these worlds “
atmospheres still need to be understood. The exoplanets do not fit the shape
may have exotic chemical compositions or unforeseen heat and circulation
pattern. Previous studies have claimed that there is a greater amount
water in the dayside atmosphere of the WASP-121b as shown by
observations because most of the signal from the water is obscured. The new
Paper provides an alternative explanation for the less than expected water
signal, but more studies will be required to better understand the nature of
these ultra-hot atmospheres.
This dilemma may be a task for NASA’s next generation James Webb Space
Telescope, slated for a 2021 launch. Parmentians and colleagues expect it to
Be powerful enough to capture new details about the days, as well as confirm
that there was no water and other interesting molecules missing
the nightlife of the planet.
Now know that ultrahot Jupiters show chemical behavior that is different and
more complex than their cooler cousins, the hot Jupiter, “said
Parmentier. “The studies of the exoplanet atmosphere are still true
infants and we have so much to learn. “
New study is coming up in the newspaper
Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, handles Spitzer Space
Telescopic Mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Science
The operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech in Pasadena.
Spacecraft operations are based on Lockheed Martin Space, Littleton, Colorado.
Data archived at Infrared Science Archive hosted by IPAC at Caltech.
Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA. NASA Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, handles Hubble. space telescope
Science Institute (STScI)
In Baltimore, Hubble performs science operations.
News Media Contact
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Written by Adam Hadhazy