Astronomers Study Hot Exoplanets That Rain Titanium and Have Aluminium Oxide Clouds

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Researchers discovered a multitude of exoplanets of an odd type, dubbed “Hot Jupiters,” thanks to the Kepler mission’s success. 

Those exoplanets are gas giants that orbit their stars very close that they reach incredibly high temperatures. They also have some exotic atmospheres that contain something unusual, such as titanium rain, and clouds of aluminum oxide. Here is what you should know.

Hot Exoplanets Features and Other Peculiar Details

A team of astronomers has realized a cloud atlas for Hot Jupiters, describing which type of clouds and atmospheres we’ll observe when we see different Hot Jupiters. Though all Hot Jupiters are alike, they do have some differences. And those differences can control what astronomers will observe in the atmospheres, as they develop more capable telescopes. 

The exoplanet atmospheres is an essential topic in astronomy nowadays. Astronomers succeeded in looking at those atmospheres as starlight moves through them and establish some facts about their structure. They’ve created some aluminum oxides models, such as corundum, the stuff of sapphires and rubies; silicon oxides, or silicates, such as quartz; molten salt, like potassium chloride; organic hydrocarbon compounds; and sulfides of manganese or zinc that exist as rocks on Earth. 

The models were adapted from models produced around Earth’s atmosphere, then prolonged to planets like Jupiter, which has a violent atmosphere comprising clouds of ammonia and methane. From there, the team extended it to include Hot Jupiters, with temperatures up to 2500 degrees Celsius. They aimed to observe atmospheric gases of various molecules and atoms condense into droplets, how they might be carried through atmospheres, and how those droplets grow or evaporate. 

“What we have done is to take this model and bring it out to the rest of the galaxy, making it able to simulate silicate clouds and iron clouds and salt clouds,” detailed lead author of the study, Peter Gao. 

The team of astronomers also discovered that in the hottest of Hot Jupiters, titanium oxides and aluminum oxides condense into high-level clouds, while in exoplanets with cooler temperatures, those clouds develop more profound in the planet, and are covered by higher silicate clouds. Gao stated that the greatest Hot Jupiters for atmospheric research are in two temperatures ranges. One is a group between 900k and 1400k, and the other is over 2200k. 

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