The James Webb Space Telescope has found that the atmospheres of gas giant planets across the Milky Way can be very different from those in our own solar system.
distant notes exoplanet HD149026b, also known as Smertrios, revealed that the planet’s atmosphere is rich in what scientists call heavy elements, anything other than hydrogen and helium. In Joe Smertrios, the James Webb Space Telescope Discover high concentrations of carbon and oxygen.
The results surprised astronomers. in gas giant our planets Solar Systemlike JupiterAnd SaturnAnd Uranus And NeptuneScientists see a clear correlation between the planet’s mass and the amount of heavy elements in the atmosphere. The larger the planet, the lower the concentrations of these elements in its atmosphere.
Related: The James Webb Space Telescope finds no atmosphere on the Earth-like exoplanet TRAPPIST-1
“The giant planets in our solar system show an almost perfect correlation between overall composition, atmospheric composition, and mass,” said Jacob Bean, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Chicago and lead author of a new paper describing the observations. in the current situation (Opens in a new tab).
Astronomers have seen more varied atmosphere compositions in gas giant exoplanets previously, but HD149026b’s atmosphere composition is off the charts.
“[The planet is] Saturn has the mass, but its atmosphere appears to contain up to 27 times the amount of elements heavier relative to hydrogen and helium that we find in Saturn,” study co-author Jonathan Lunen, a professor in the Department of Physical Sciences at Cornell University, said in the statement.
HD149026b, or Smertrios, is the so-called hot Jupiter, a Jupiter-like planet orbiting close to its parent star. In the case of Smertrios, this distance is so short that a planet year only lasts three Earth days. As a result of this close proximity to the star, temperatures in Smertrios’ atmosphere reach 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,425 degrees Celsius), which is three times higher than the surface temperature of the hottest planet in the Solar System, Venus. However, this does not explain the planet’s unusual atmospheric composition
“It seems that every giant planet is different, and we’re starting to see these differences thanks to JWST,” Lunin said. “In this paper, we have determined how many molecules there are in relation to the primary component of gas, which is hydrogen, which is the most common element in the universe. That tells us a lot about how this planet formed.”
By measuring the composition of a planet’s atmosphere, scientists can gain insight into the chemistry of its parent star and the materials it formed from millions or billions of years ago. The study found that the protoplanetary disk that gave rise to Smertrios must have contained much more carbon in oxygen than the disk that gave birth to our solar system. The researchers plan to study more hot Jupiters next year, hoping to find “statistical trends” behind the diversity of their chemical compositions.
“The origin of this diversity is a fundamental puzzle in our understanding of planetary formation,” Bean said. “Our hope is that more atmospheric observations of exoplanets using the JWST will better quantify this diversity and lead to constraints on the more complex trends that may be present. We have shown definitively that the atmospheric compositions of giant exoplanets do not follow the same trend that is It is also evident in the planets of the solar system.
the study (Opens in a new tab) Published in Nature on Monday, March 27.
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