In their study, they found that an exoplanet called WASP-189b has a similar atmosphere Earth.
Citing Science Alert on Monday (1/31/2022), these findings began when researchers were first able to probe the atmospheric layer of an exoplanet, namely WASP-189b.
The researchers found that WASP-189b’s atmosphere was actually made up of different layers, each with its own chemical composition and properties.
In the past, astronomers often assumed that the atmospheres of exoplanets only consist of uniform layers
However, the results of the study show that the atmosphere of the gas giant planet appears to have a complex three-dimensional structure.
WASP-189b, about 322 light-years away, is an interesting exoplanet because it resembles Jupiter but is in orbit very close to its parent star, orbiting in less than 10 days.
Of course, the planet is also very hot. The surface temperature itself can reach 3200 degrees Celsius during the day, making the planet hotter than some other stars.
Researchers themselves claim not to know why the planet can be like this. Because according to planet formation models, gas giants like WASP-189b cannot have formed so close to their parent star.
So studying more exoplanets like WASP-189b could reveal more about the dynamics of planetary systems.
The researchers then measured the light coming from the planet’s parent star and streaming through the planet’s atmosphere.
According to Lund University astronomer Bibiana Prinoth, who led the research, gases in the atmosphere absorb some of the star’s light, much like ozone absorbs some of the sunlight in Earth’s atmosphere.
One clue is traces of titanium oxide on WASP-189b, which have never been detected before in exoplanetary atmospheres.
“Titanium oxide absorbs short-wave radiation such as ultraviolet radiation,” says astrophysicist Kevin Heng from the University of Bern.
Though it won’t travel to WASP-189b any time soon, researchers say this research still has relevance in the search for life beyond Earth.
This is a new milestone in the study of exoplanet atmospheres, where we are likely to see signs of extraterrestrial life.
Research published in Nature astronomy.
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