Advertisement

It rains sunscreen on this 'hot Jupiter' exoplanet

It rains sunscreen on this 'hot Jupiter' exoplanet
From Engadget - November 1, 2017

On the dark side, the mineral that's closely related to the active ingredient in physical sunscreens condenses into crystalline flakes and forms clouds. Those clouds do not stay clouds for long, though: since Kepler-13Ab's gravity is six times more intense than Jupiter's, it's strong enough to pull the mineral out of the upper atmosphere.

The team led by Thomas Beatty from Pennsylvania State University chose to study Kepler-13Ab, since its 5,000-degree-Fahrenheit daytime temps make it easier to observe than colder hot Jupiters. They used Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 to get a closer look at Kepler-13Ab's atmosphere in near-infrared and found that it's colder in the planet's regions with higher altitudes. That's pretty unusual, as it's typically hotter in the higher regions of hot Jupiters. Titanium oxide lurks in their atmospheres in gaseous form, you see, absorbing light and radiating it as heat.

Advertisement

Continue reading at Engadget »