As experts were developing a study that would provide a comprehensive and worldwide grasp of exoplanet atmospheres, they stumbled upon the planet WASP-121b. This planet aptly nicknamed as Hot Jupiter, has metal clouds and rain made of liquid gems at night.
An exoplanet possesses metal clouds and might even encounter rain composed of liquid gems during the nighttime that becomes airborne metals throughout the day. The study (read the full study below), which was published in Nature Astronomy, looks at the celestial object that orbits a star around 885 light-years away from Earth.
As part of a project to comprehend the atmospheric cycles between day and night, an international group of astronomers gazed at the gas giant WASP-121b. There had always been very limited studies of exoplanet atmospheres up until just now.
WASP-121b is a ultra-hot Jupiter-like planet with a mass and diameter bigger than our solar system’s biggest planet. WASP-121b, similar to our Moon, is tidally locked, which means that while performing one orbit each 30.6 hours, the dayside of the planet continuously faces its star.
“Hot Jupiters are famous for having very bright day sides, but the night side is a different beast. WASP-121b’s night side is about 10 times fainter than its day side,”, according to study co-author Tansu Daylan of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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The exoplanet has a luminous water vapor atmosphere and is being squeezed into a rugby ball-like form by the powerful gravitational influence of the star it circles, on top of its peculiar metal clouds.
The water cycle is even more turbulent than that on Earth. Winds of much more than 11,000 miles per hour (17,703 kilometers per hour) shred apart water particles during the day before forcing them onto the night side.
“These winds are much faster than our jet stream and can probably move clouds across the entire planet in about 20 hours,” Daylan said.
The chilly side is indeed cold enough for iron clouds to develop. Such clouds, like water vapor, are pushed around the planet. It is thought that before the clouds melt into gases on the hot side, they might pour liquid diamonds on the cold end.
According to the experts, their study presents a comprehensive and worldwide grasp of exoplanet atmospheres. “With this observation, we’re really getting a global view of an exoplanet’s meteorology,” said lead author of the study Thomas Mikal-Evans of Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Astronomy.
Read the study below: