Sunday, September 27, 2020
Home Lead Story Astronomers Have Found a Cloud Free Planet Outside Our Solar System

Astronomers Have Found a Cloud Free Planet Outside Our Solar System

Just like an individual's fingerprints are unique, atoms and molecules have a unique spectral characteristic that can be used to detect their presence in celestial objects.

Astronomers have found that a planet outside our solar system, which is similar to Saturn in mass and exceeds the size of Jupiter by 20 per cent, has an atmosphere free of clouds.

The hot gas giant, WASP-96b, periodically transits a Sun-like star 980 light years away in the southern constellation Phoenix.

Using the the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, the team studied the atmosphere of WASP-96b when the planet passed in front of its host-star.

This enabled the team to measure the decrease of starlight caused by the planet and its atmosphere, and thereby determine the planet’s atmospheric composition.

“We’ve been looking at more than twenty exoplanet transit spectra. WASP-96b is the only exoplanet that appears to be entirely cloud-free and shows such a clear sodium signature, making the planet a benchmark for characterisation,” said lead author of the study Nikolay Nikolov from University of Exeter in Britain.

Just like an individual’s fingerprints are unique, atoms and molecules have a unique spectral characteristic that can be used to detect their presence in celestial objects.

The spectrum of WASP-96b shows the complete fingerprint of sodium, which can only be observed for an atmosphere free of clouds, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

The spectrum of WASP-96b shows the complete fingerprint of sodium, which can only be observed for an atmosphere free of clouds, according to the study published in the journal Nature.
Planets and solar system, Pixabay

It has long been predicted that sodium exists in the atmospheres of hot gas-giant exoplanets, and in a cloud-free atmosphere it would produce spectra that are similar in shape to the profile of a camping tent.

“Until now, sodium was revealed either as a very narrow peak or found to be completely missing. This is because the characteristic ‘tent-shaped’ profile can only be produced deep in the atmosphere of the planet and for most planet clouds appear to get in the way,” Nikolov added.

Clouds and hazes are known to exist in some of the hottest and coldest solar system planets and exoplanets.

Also Read: Microsoft Partners With China Based DJI, World’s Largest Drone Company

The presence or absence of clouds and their ability to block light plays an important role in the overall energy budget of planetary atmospheres.

“It is difficult to predict which of these hot atmospheres will have thick clouds. By seeing the full range of possible atmospheres, from very cloudy to nearly cloud-free like WASP-96b, we’ll gain a better understanding of what these clouds are made of,” explains study co-author Jonathan Fortney, Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), US. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

19,134FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,776FollowersFollow

Most Popular

7 Money Tips to Travel for Hard-line Backpackers

Travel is something that every millennial love to do, but most of the time it can also turn out to be very costly especially...

People Neglect Fear of COVID as Food Orders Outrush

If you are among those who are thrilled to once again see food delivery boys all around or plan to visit a restaurant and...

Demand for Indian Animation Witnesses a Substantial Growth

With demand for Indian animated content growing among global audiences, especially with children who are a significant consumer group for animations like cartoon shows,...

Treatment and Lifestyle Changes for a Healthy Heart

From the time the first Coronavirus case was recorded in China, to India's numbers crossing four million, COVID-19 has millions of lives under its...

The Vogue Change of Footwear in India

Covid-19 has changed consumer buying patterns across segments, ranging from FMCG, personal care, apparel to footwear. The change has also led manufacturers to take...

Daughters’ Day: Entertainment Industry Showers Their Little Girls With Love

From megastar Amitabh Bachchan to Ajay Devgn and Ayushmann Khurrana, several stars took to social media to shower their daughters with love on the...

When “Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein” Released, it was Flop But Slowly Became Iconic: Madhavan

When Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein released in 2001, the film failed to create sparks at the box office. What remained with the viewers...

This is How NASA is Preparing Astronauts for Next Moonwalks in 2024

As NASA plans to return humans to the Moon in 2024 as part of the Artemis programme, the agency has already started preparing astronauts...

Recent Comments