Astronomers have discovered the heavy element barium in the atmosphere of two very hot gas giant planets named WASP-76 b and WASP-121.
Simulation of an iron rain at midnight by WASP-76 b.
Simulation of an iron rain in the middle of the night by WSP-76 b. (Photo: ESO).
Discovery bari around the two exoplanets WASP-76 b and WĄSP-121 b mark the heaviest element ever found in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a star other than the Sun. The discovery could reveal conditions around Jupiter’s hot exoplanets, gas giants that orbit close to their host stars and are often affected by tidal locking, with one day side always rotating toward the star and the night side facing toward space. The close distance means that the hot planet Jupiter takes only a few days to orbit the host star and has a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Celsius.
WASP-76 b is an extremely unique example of a hot planet Jupiter. Previously, astronomers found that daytime temperatures could reach 2,400 degrees Celsius, hot enough to evaporate iron and other metals.. When blown by the wind in the cooler night of WASP-76 b, the vaporized iron liquefies and falls onto the wall.h “rain of iron”. Even under such unusual and intense conditions, researchers still did not expect to find barium, an element 2.5 times heavier than iron, in the atmosphere of WASP-76 b or WASP-121 b.
“The puzzling question is why such a heavy element is found in the upper atmosphere of these exoplanets”, Tomás Azevedo Silva, research team leader at the University of Porto and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences of Portugal, shared the announcement from the European Southern Observatory (ESO). Silva and his colleagues used several ESO telescopes for this study. They announced their discovery on October 13 in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
The planets’ strong gravity led the team to predict that heavy elements such as barium would sink quickly into the lower layers of the atmosphere. They do not know exactly what natural process led to the existence of barium in the atmosphere of WASP-76 b or WĄSP-121 b. Astronomers use a technique called spectroscopy to understand the chemical composition of exoplanets. This technique is based on elements absorbing and emitting light at specific frequencies. Therefore, when starlight passes through a planet’s atmosphere, elements in the atmosphere leave their own signature.
Silva and his colleagues used the ESPRESSO spectrometer at the Very Large Telescope in Chile to determine the atmospheric composition of WASP-76 b and WASP-121 b. In the future, they will continue to use instruments such as the spectrometer (ANDES) of the Extremely Large Telescope under construction in Chile, making it possible to analyze the atmospheres of both planets of the same size and of smaller planets outside of the solar system.
Article source: VnExpress
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Recently, astronomers discovered the heavy element barium in the atmosphere of two super-hot gas giant planets named WASP-76 b and WASP-121.