NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer House telescopes have revealed interesting information on ultrahot planets, and physicists are stunned to find out the reason behind the missing water on these giants’ surfaces.
The planets outside our solar system that are very close to their stars are called Ultrahot Jupiters.
A Mystery Uncovered
What researchers couldn’t understand was why there wasn’t a sign of water vapors in their atmosphere, considering that planets with a little lower temperature had a lot of water vapors. Astrophysicists conducted a theoretical study using Hubble, Spitzer House telescopes, and computer simulations and published their findings in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.
According to their paper, it seems that ultrahot planets contain oxygen and hydrogen atoms – the compounds found in water. But because of the huge temperature and irradiation, these oxygen and hydrogen molecules are torn apart.
Learning More About Exoplanets’ Atmospheres
According to the lead author of the study, astrophysicist Vivien Parmentier (French Aix Marseille University), “ultrahot Jupiters stretch out what we think planets should look like. With these studies, we are bringing some of the century-old knowledge gained from studying the astrophysics of stars, to the new field of investigating exoplanetary atmospheres.”
The study explains why these planets cannot have rain or water on their surface. Not only they are very hot – during daytime, they can reach 2000 – 3000 – degree Celsius and the during the night, it “cools down” to almost 1500 degree Celsius, so the atmosphere is quite different, explains Parmentier:
“The daysides of these worlds are furnaces that look more like a stellar atmosphere than a planetary atmosphere.”
The co-author of the study, astrophysicist Michael Line (Arizona State University) added that the research team did their best to model the physics of the planets, leading them to these conclusions:
“This showed us how to produce the observed spectra using gases that are more likely to be present under the extreme conditions. These planets don’t need exotic compositions or unusual pathways to make them.”
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.