’s super telescope National Administration of Aeronautics and Space (NASA) James Webb discovers sand clouds on a rare planet. The team responsible for the discovery says it is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed on a celestial body outside the solar system.
The thick clouds are rich in silicate grains (made of silicon and oxygen) and surround a brown dwarf, VHS 1256b, about 20 times the size of Jupiter.
In addition to the sand clouds, NASA’s Super Telescope detected water, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sodium and potassium in the exoplanet’s atmosphere. VHS 1256b was discovered in 2016 and is located 72 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corvo. It often attracts the attention of astronomers due to its reddish glow.
The data obtained by James Webb is very detailed, showing that the proportions of various gases change throughout the brown dwarf’s atmosphere – suggesting it is a wild and turbulent place.
“In a quiet atmosphere, there is the expected ratio of methane to carbon monoxide,” astronomer Sasha Hinkie of the University of Exeter in the UK explained to the magazine. Forbes. “But in many exoplanet atmospheres, we find that this ratio is highly skewed, suggesting that there is turbulent vertical mixing in these atmospheres.”
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