Climate detected on planet 280 light-years away

An international team of researchers has mapped the weather — including temperature, cloud cover and wind — on an exoplanet about 280 light-years from Earth.

An artist’s concept reveals what the hot gas-giant exoplanet WASP-43 b might look like. Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, Ralf Crawford (STScI)

Exoplanets are planets located beyond our solar system. The focus of this study is the exoplanet WASP-43 b, a 'hot Jupiter’ type exoplanet: similar to Jupiter, composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, and much hotter than any of the giant planets in our own Solar System. .

Co-author of the study, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, Dr Tom Evans-Soma, From the University of Newcastle, he is part of an international team examining some of the first data provided by NASA’s new flagship observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope.

From these latest observations, the team gathered that exoplanet WASP-43 b has a clear sky with daytime temperatures of nearly 1,250 degrees Celsius—almost hot enough to form iron. Meanwhile, the nightside is significantly cooler with a thicker, more cloudy layer at 600°C.

The data revealed a surprising absence of methane anywhere in the atmosphere, which tells scientists that the exoplanet has wind speeds of up to 8,000 kilometers per hour – at wind speeds, there isn’t enough time for the expected chemical reactions. Produces detectable amounts of methane.

The investigation is the latest demonstration of exoplanet science made possible now by the James Webb Space Telescope’s unprecedented ability to measure temperature variations and detect atmospheric gases trillions of kilometers away.

Astronomer Dr. Evans-Soma, who analyzed the data to find new insights into exoplanet WASP-43 b, is currently conducting James Webb Space Telescope observations to learn more about other exoplanets.

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *