Researchers from Exeter University in the UK revealed the presence of water in the atmosphere of exoplanet WASP-121b. This gas giant refers to the type of hot Jupiters — large planets that are so close to the parent star that their atmospheres are heated to several thousand degrees Celsius. Under these conditions, water molecules are “heating up”, emitting infrared radiation. Article researchers published in the journal Nature.
WASP-121b is removed from the Earth at a distance of 900 light years. Year on the planet lasts 1.3 days, and the mass and size it is superior to Jupiter. Researchers estimate that the upper layers of the gas envelope of the exoplanet is heated to 2500 degrees Celsius. At this temperature the iron may be in solid or liquid form, and exists in the form of gas.
Many planets in the Solar system are in the stratosphere part of the atmosphere, which captures the ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) that leads to its heating to approximately 100 degrees. The Earth the role of “trap” plays ozone, Jupiter and Titan (moon of Saturn) — methane. The presence of water indicates that WASP-121b also has the stratosphere, and estimated the absorption of UV radiation further heats it to 1,000 degrees. However, it is still unknown what substance is responsible for this.
According to scientists, such compounds can be vanadium oxide or titanium oxide capable of absorbing electromagnetic radiation of a specific wavelength. These molecules are detected in brown dwarfs — stars that are in common with gas giants. Therefore, it is believed that they may also be present in the atmospheres of hot Jupiters.