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Inferno World with Titanium Skies

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Jan 27, 2018 9:58 am

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.

“Detecting such molecules is, however, no simple feat,” explains Elyar Sedaghati, who spent 2 years as ESO student to work on this project. “Not only do we need data of exceptional quality, but we also need to perform a sophisticated analysis. We used an algorithm that explores many millions of spectra spanning a wide range of chemical compositions, temperatures, and cloud or haze properties in order to draw our conclusions.”

Titanium oxide is rarely seen on Earth. It is known to exist in the atmospheres of cool stars. In the atmospheres of hot planets like WASP-19b, it acts as a heat absorber. If present in large enough quantities, these molecules prevent heat from entering or escaping through the atmosphere, leading to a thermal inversion — the temperature is higher in the upper atmosphere and lower further down, the opposite of the normal situation. Ozone plays a similar role in Earth’s atmosphere, where it causes inversion in the stratosphere.

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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:01 am

Inferno World with Titanium Skies Eso1729a
Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

An artist's impression showing the exoplanet WASP-19b, in which atmosphere astronomers detected titanium oxide for the first time. In large enough quantities, titanium oxide can prevent heat from entering or escaping an atmosphere, leading to a thermal inversion — the temperature is higher in the upper atmosphere and lower further down, the opposite of the normal situation.

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Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:02 am

Inferno World with Titanium Skies Eso1729b
Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser

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.

Source / Image Courtesy

 

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:05 am



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.

 
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Post by Dragon Sat Jan 27, 2018 10:06 am



Artist impression of the light passing through the atmosphere of the extrasolar planet WASP-19b.

Astronomers detected titanium oxide, together with water and traces of sodium, in the atmosphere of the hot-Jupiter planet WASP-19b. Part of the stellar light is absorbed in the atmosphere by these molecules, while other parts get scattered or go through almost unchanged.

 

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