ESO Science Release | VLT | 2017 Sep 13
ESO’s VLT makes first detection of titanium oxide in an exoplanet
[img3="Artist’s impression of the exoplanet WASP-19b - Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser"]https://cdn.eso.org/images/screen/eso1729a.jpg[/img3][hr][/hr]Astronomers using ESO’s Very Large Telescope have detected titanium oxide in an exoplanet atmosphere for the first time. This discovery around the hot-Jupiter planet WASP-19b exploited the power of the FORS2 instrument. It provides unique information about the chemical composition and the temperature and pressure structure of the atmosphere of this unusual and very hot world. The results appear today in the journal Nature.
A team of astronomers led by Elyar Sedaghati, an ESO fellow and recent graduate of TU Berlin, has examined the atmosphere of the exoplanet WASP-19b in greater detail than ever before. This remarkable planet has about the same mass as Jupiter, but is so close to its parent star that it completes an orbit in just 19 hours and its atmosphere is estimated to have a temperature of about 2000 degrees Celsius.
As WASP-19b passes in front of its parent star, some of the starlight passes through the planet’s atmosphere and leaves subtle fingerprints in the light that eventually reaches Earth. By using the FORS2 instrument on the Very Large Telescope the team was able to carefully analyse this light and deduce that the atmosphere contained small amounts of titanium oxide, water and traces of sodium, alongside a strongly scattering global haze. ...
Detection of Titanium Oxide in the Atmosphere of a Hot Jupiter - Elyar Sedaghati et al