Discovery clouds of minerals and liquid sapphire on “hot Jupiter”

Clouds of metal, liquid sapphire and sapphire falling from the sky could be a reality on the exoplanet “hot Jupiter” WASP-121b, discovered in 2015 880 light-years from Earth.

Since the discovery of WASP-121b, scientists have continued to study this unusual world, and in a new study using the Hubble Space Telescope, they have been able to estimate the composition of the atmosphere and weather patterns on cooler nights.

says Joanna Barstow, a researcher at the Open University in the United Kingdom. One of the research participants: “It’s very exciting to study things like WASP-121b, which is very different from the planets in our solar system, because it allows us to see how the atmosphere behaves under extreme conditions.”

This “hot Jupiter” turned out to be “locked” in its orbital motion due to the influence of the tidal forces of a nearby star, so one side of the giant planet always faces the star and the minerals evaporate on it.

The upper layers of the planetary atmosphere on the day side can reach a temperature of 3000 degrees Celsius, while the water molecules begin to glow and collapse. On the night side, temperatures are twice as moderate, and this difference causes very strong winds from west to east, pulling water from the daytime to the night side.

Water molecules, which decompose into hydrogen and oxygen atoms under the influence of heat on the day side, then unite under low temperature conditions on the night side, forming water vapor, but then appear again on the day side under the influence of the same wind, decomposing into atoms, etc..

Temperatures on the night side during this cycle aren’t low enough for water clouds to form, but that doesn’t mean clouds don’t form on the planet at all. , but clouds of minerals form: iron, magnesium, chromium and vanadium in a gaseous state on the day side of the planet, and on the night side they become “cold” enough for these minerals to condense into clouds. In addition to the mineral clouds, the researchers also found signs that WASP-121b may have been raining as a liquid gemstone.


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