Exoplanet WASP-121b May Rain Liquid Gem | to know

Scientists conclude in a new study published in the journal that it can rain a liquid gemstone on WASP-121b. Natural Astronomy. Instead of rain clouds, clouds with minerals are formed. Together they can form the mineral corundum, a compound we also know in the form of ruby ​​and sapphire.

WASP-121b is an exoplanet that was discovered in 2015. The exoplanet lies about 880 light-years from Earth and bears many physical similarities to Jupiter, the largest planet in our galaxy. It is a gas giant, like Jupiter and Saturn, and has a greater mass.

Since the discovery of an exoplanet, astronomers have studied it extensively. For example, the new study now shows that weather conditions on an exoplanet are especially strange. As minerals and minerals evaporate on the warmer side of the planet, it rains liquid gemstones on the cooler side.

cold or hot

The thing is, it takes an exoplanet 30 hours to orbit its star in one orbit. It takes the same amount of time to rotate on its axis. Results? On one side of the planet it is always hot, and on the other it remains cold. As a result, the water cycle on the WASP-121b, for example, looks very different from the one on Earth.

On the warm side of the planet, the temperature of the upper atmosphere reaches nearly 3000 degrees. At such temperatures, water molecules disintegrate into their atomic components. On the other (cold) side of the planet, it’s 1,500 degrees colder.

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The extreme temperature difference between the two sides, in turn, leads to strong winds from west to east. As temperatures drop on the cooler side, the hydrogen and oxygen atoms combine, but they don’t cool enough to form rain clouds. However, clouds are made up: They are mainly made of minerals including iron, magnesium, and chromium.

liquid gemstones

Remarkably, aluminum and titanium are not among the gases observed in the atmosphere. Perhaps because these minerals were already condensing on the cold side of the planet. There they likely form the mineral oxide complex, a chemical compound that we know in the form of ruby ​​and sapphire. After condensation, the gem (liquid) will rain.

“It’s exciting to study planets like WASP-121b,” said co-author Joanna Barstow in the UK. “After all, they behave completely differently due to extreme conditions.”

Megan Vasquez

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