The James Webb Space Telescope will begin studying the atmospheres of planets outside the solar system. The space website reported that special attention will be given to “hot Jupiters”.
These are gas planets that orbit around their stars. They are very hot (up to 2000 degrees Celsius). Rocks, minerals, and metals can only exist in vapor form under such conditions. On Earth, some of these minerals are considered precious.
In 2017, astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) detected traces of titanium oxide in the atmosphere of the planet WASP-19b. In 2020, iron vapor was detected on the planet WASP-76b.
A very hot Jupiter always faces their star only on one side. This country is warming to high temperatures. In the shadow side it is “cold” – about 1500 degrees Celsius. In such an environment the iron vapor condenses and falls as precipitation of hot metal.
The James Webb telescope can directly distinguish these minerals in the form of clouds and measure their composition using spectroscopy. The research will allow to accurately determine the chemical composition of the atmosphere and draw conclusions about the formation and evolution of the planetary system as a whole.
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