CfA: Astronomers Discover First Cloudless, Jupiter-Like Planet

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CfA: Astronomers Discover First Cloudless, Jupiter-Like Planet

Post by bystander » Wed Jan 27, 2021 12:17 am

Astronomers Discover First Cloudless, Jupiter-Like Planet
Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics | 2021 Jan 22
Astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics have detected the first Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its observable atmosphere. ...

Named WASP-62b, the gas giant was first detected in 2012 through the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) South survey. Its atmosphere, however, had never been closely studied until now. ...

Known as a "hot Jupiter," WASP-62b is 575 light years away and about half the mass of our solar system's Jupiter. However, unlike our Jupiter, which takes nearly 12 years to orbit the sun, WASP-62b completes a rotation around its star in just four-and-a-half days. This proximity to the star makes it extremely hot, hence the name "hot Jupiter."

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Alam recorded data and observations of the planet using spectroscopy, the study of electromagnetic radiation to help detect chemical elements. Alam specifically monitored WASP-62b as it swept in front of its host star three times, making visible light observations, which can detect the presence of sodium and potassium in a planet’s atmosphere. ...

Cloud-free planets are exceedingly rare; astronomers estimate that less than 7 percent of exoplanets have clear atmospheres, according to recent research. For example, the first and only other known exoplanet with a clear atmosphere was discovered in 2018. Named WASP-96b, it is classified as a hot Saturn. ...

Evidence of a Clear Atmosphere for WASP-62b: The Only Known Transiting
Gas Giant in the JWST Continuous Viewing Zone
~ Munazza K. Alam et al
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