Astronomers for the first time saw and studied the clouds on a distant exoplanet


The international team of astronomers not only considered the clouds on the exoplanet located in 525 light years from the Earth, but also measured their height with unprecedented accuracy. About how scientists managed to establish the structure of the upper layers of the planet’s atmosphere, they told on the Europlanet 2021 Scientific Congress.

Planet WASP-127B is a giant with a mass of Saturn, located on the orbit close to its sun. By combining observations in the infrared spectrum made using the Hubble Space Telescope, with the measurements of the visible spectrum of the Espresso spectrograph of the Observatory in Chile, astronomers were able to analyze the various sections of the atmosphere. How

«First, as it was established before the planets of this type, we found the presence of sodium, but at a much lower altitude than expected. Secondly, there were strong water vapor signals in the infrared spectrum, although they were not at all in the visible wavelengths. This means that water dust at the lower levels is shielded by the clouds, opaque for the visible spectrum, but transparent in IR, «said Romen Allar, head of the research group.

«We still do not know the composition of the clouds, except that they do not consist of water droplets, like earthly, continued by Allar. — We are also surprised by the fact that sodium is in such an unexpected place. Further research will help us understand not only more about the structure of the atmosphere, but also about the WASP-127B, which turned out to be a striking planet. «

Her full turn around the star takes only four days, and it gets 600 times more radiation than the Earth. The temperature on it should reach 1100 degrees Celsius. Its radius is 1.3 more than the Jupiter, and the mass is five times less. Thus, WASP-127B is one of the most «air» exoplanets known to astronomers. And it makes it convenient for observations.

Spectrographic analysis also shows that, unlike the planets of the solar system, WASP-127B rotates not only in the opposite direction than its star, but not in the equator plane. This is not peculiar to the hot gas giants in the old solar system and can be caused by some unopened neighborhood.

Summer Astronomer Group

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