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Exoplanet has Earth-like layered atmosphere made of titanium gas
by Adam Schrader
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 31, 2021

Scientists have discovered that a planet outside of the solar system may have a complex atmosphere made of metal gases that operate like Earth's atmosphere.

The research, published in the journal Nature Astronomy, found evidence that metals discovered in the atmosphere of WASP-189b are layered -- the first time research has suggested that gas giant planets like Jupiter might have a complex atmosphere like Earth's.

The research suggests that astronomers, who have previously assumed that the atmospheres of exoplanets exist as a uniform layer, adjust how they research and understand exoplanets -- including those that are more Earth-like.

"In the past, it has only been possible to analyze the atmospheres of this type of exoplanet with one-dimensional models," said Bibiana Prinoth, a doctoral student at Lund University in Sweden who is the lead author of the study, in a press release. "In our study, we pave the way for using high-resolution spectrographs to gain a much deeper understanding of exoplanet atmospheres."

The researchers particularly noted the presence of titanium oxide, which absorbs short wave radiation like the ultraviolet radiation emitted by stars such as the sun.

"Its detection could therefore indicate a layer in the atmosphere of WASP-189b that interacts with the stellar irradiation similarly to how the ozone layer does on Earth," said study co-author Kevin Heng -- a professor of astrophysics at the University of Bern, in a press release.

Prinoth said that researchers found evidence that the atmosphere is layered with different gasses in different ways -- like layers of water vapor and ozone in Earth's atmosphere.

The other metal gases found in the atmosphere of WASP-189b include iron, chromium, vanadium, magnesium and manganese.

"I am often asked if I think my research is relevant to the search for life elsewhere in the universe. My answer is always yes. This type of study is a first step in this search," Prinoth said.

On top of its metal atmosphere, WASP-189b is a hellish planet located 322 light-years from Earth and is perhaps the most extreme of any of the 4,2000 known exoplanets -- with daytime temperatures of about 5,792 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Extreme exoplanet has a complex and exotic atmosphere
Bern, Switzerland (SPX) Jan 28, 2022
An international team including researchers from the University of Bern and the University of Geneva as well as the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS analyzed the atmosphere of one of the most extreme known planets in great detail. The results from this hot, Jupiter-like planet that was first characterized with the help of the CHEOPS space telescope, may help astronomers understand the complexities of many other exoplanets - including Earth-like p ... read more

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