NASA Hubble observes changing exoplanet atmospheres over 3 years

NASA Hubble observes changing exoplanet atmospheres over 3 years

This visualization shows temperature forecasts over 130 exoplanet days, across sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight for exoplanet WASP-121 b, also known as Tylos. The brighter yellow areas depict areas on the exoplanet's dayside where temperatures rise above 2,100 degrees Kelvin (3,320 degrees Fahrenheit); Because of its proximity to its host star, about 2.6% of the distance between Earth and the Sun. Due to the extreme temperature difference between the day and night sides, astronomers suspect that evaporated iron and other heavy metals that escape into the upper layers of the atmosphere on the day side are partially backdated to the lower layers, making it rain iron at night. Some heavy metals also escape the planet's gravity from the upper atmosphere. WASP-121 b takes only about 31 hours to complete its orbit around its star. An international team of astronomers has compiled and reprocessed Hubble's observations of the exoplanet in 2016, 2018 and 2019. This provided them with a unique data set that allowed them to not only analyze the atmosphere of WASP-121 b, but also compare the state of the exoplanet's atmosphere across several years. They found clear evidence that observations of WASP-121 b were varying over time. The team then used sophisticated modeling techniques to demonstrate that these temporal variations could be explained by weather patterns in the exoplanet's atmosphere, as seen here. The international team of astronomers in this study consists of: Q. Changeat (European Space Agency (ESA), Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), University College London); J. W. Skinner (California Institute of Technology, Brandeis University); JYK. Zhou (Brandeis University, Center for Computational Astrophysics/Flatiron Institute); C. Natella (Center for Computational Astrophysics/Flatiron Institute, Columbia University); I. P. Waldman (University College London); A. F. Al-Rifai (University College London); a. Derek (Université Paris City, Université Paris-Saclay); Edwards (Netherlands Institute for Space Research, University College London); T. Michal Evans (Max Planck Institute for Astronomy); Joshua (Blue Skies Space Limited); Murillo (Chalmers University of Technology, Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands); SCAF (National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, University of Paris, University College London); A. Tsiaras (University College London); O. Venot (Université de la Cité de Paris, Université d'Est Paris); and KH Yip (University College London). Image credits: NASA, ESA, Quentin Changat (ESA/STScI), Mehdi Zamani (ESA/Hubble)

(tags for translation)Astrophysics

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