Posted by Heba El-Sayed
Sunday, March 26, 2023 at 02:00 PM
One of the most exciting things James Webb Telescope Alien can not only find exoplanets, but also look at their atmospheres and see what they’re made of, and by understanding alien atmospheres and finding habitable worlds, we can see some amazing things – like the latest discovery. The exoplanet’s atmosphere is full of sand clouds.
Exoplanet VHS 1256 b, about 40 light-years away, has a complex and dynamic atmosphere that shows significant changes 22 hours a day, Digitartlands reported.
The atmosphere not only shows evidence of common chemicals such as water, methane and carbon monoxide, but also appears to be filled with clouds of silicate grains.
Astronomers were able to get a better view of the planet because instead of orbiting a star like the planets in our solar system, the planet orbits a pair of stars, taking 10,000 years to complete a full orbit.
This means it is far away from the light of its stars, so it is easy for astronomers to see the planet’s relatively faint reflected light.
“VHS 1256b is four times the distance from its stars Pluto and our Sun, making it an ideal target for Webb,” University of Arizona science team leader Brittany Miles said in a statement. “This means that the planet’s light does not mix with the light of its stars.”
Sand clouds are unusual, but not unheard of when it comes to exoplanets, and in this case cirrus clouds are located high in the planet’s atmosphere, where temperatures can reach an incredible 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
The planet also has a low gravity, which allows clouds of large and small particles to float through the atmosphere.
“The fine silicate grains in its atmosphere could be like tiny particles in smoke,” said co-author Beth Beller of the University of Edinburgh. “Big grains can be like very small, very hot grains of sand.”
Although the researchers are excited about their findings, they say they want to do more research to understand the planet’s atmosphere. “We have identified silicates, but a better understanding of the grain sizes and shapes associated with specific types of clouds will require additional work,” Miles said.
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