Thursday , January 21 2021

Too much UV light can turn the gas planets into sad rocky hearts

The atmosphere of a gas giant exoplanet, located 163 light-years from Earth, is crashed into space by the receiving star, forming a ghostly tail. Excessive ultraviolet radiation is responsible for the celestial phenomenon, according to a new study, a discovery that could give new insights into the planetary formation.

Extremely called WASP-69b is approximately the size of Jupiter, but unlike Jupiter, it is just over 6.43 million kilometers away from the host star. Year of WASP-69b lasts only 3.6 days. In the new article published today in Astronomy, astronomers from the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute describe how the ultraviolet radiation from the star blows helium particles from the WASP-69b with such a force that the vast gravity of the planet can not contain them,

It is unlikely that the outgoing gases have obviously shaped the comet queue that the researchers have been able to find.

Helium may be the second richest element in the universe, but it is known to be difficult to find around distant exoplanets. To mumble her, an astronomy team headed by the IAC Nortmann League uses the CARMENES instrument attached to the 3.5-meter telescope of the Observatory Calar Alto in Spain. This instrument recognizes visible and near infrared high wavelength wavelengths, allowing astronomers to identify specific chemical signatures, such as helium, and the speed at which they travel.

Using CARMENES, astronomers observe WASP-69b when passing their receiving star from our point of view on Earth – an astronomical technique known as the transit method.

"We noticed a stronger and more prolonged dimming of the starlight in the area of ​​the spectrum where helium gas absorbs light," Nortman said in a statement. "The greater length of this absorption allows us to deduce the existence of a queue".

Using the same technique, astronomers watched several other exoplanets under similar conditions. However none of the exoplanets observed have the same effect of helium leakage except one hot Jupiter known as HD 189733b. But instead of having a tail, this planet is surrounded by a helium balloon that snakes into space in many directions.

In a related report, published today in Science, astronomers describe the exoplanet HAT-P-11b, which, like WASP-69b and HD 189733b, also loses its helium.

So that's obviously something that happens to a select group of exoplanets. Regarding the reasons why some nearby gas giants burn helium while others were not known, the team turned to another tool: The ESA XMM-Newton ESA mission, As this telescope shows, the smoking gun turns out to be extreme levels of ultraviolet radiation from the stars of the planets.

Regarding the mechanism of action, the researchers believe that helium particles get excess energy from huge amounts of incoming UV radiation, causing particles to drop out of the atmosphere and space. But this is only the theory that is going on; the following observations, especially with the CARMENES instrument, could shed light on this mysterious process.

This is really great, but this discovery can also talk about the processes of planetary formation. After all, according to the researchers, gas giants could completely free themselves from their atmosphere. Everything else is a compact rock core that contains densities and maybe even masses similar to Earth or Venus. This may represent a new and seemingly complex way of appearing rocky planets, but it is still a mere theory.

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With this opportunity, astronomers now have to look for rocky planets with super short orbital periods, which may be the remnants of this process. Even better could find gas giants in the last stage of helium leakage, as this could be considered more convincing (for example at cosmological distances it may be difficult to distinguish rock residues of giants from the vaporized gas from rocky planets,).

Fortunately, the next generation of telescopes, including the Transit Exaplanet (TESS) transit satellite and the still-launched James Webb (JWST) Space Telescope, may be powerful enough to do the job.


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