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Water Vapour in the Atmospheres of Hot-Jupiters

30 Jun 2016, 22:00 UTC
Water Vapour in the Atmospheres of Hot-Jupiters
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Hot-Jupiters are a class of planets similar in size to Jupiter but orbit very close to their host stars. It is common for hot-Jupiters to have cloud or haze layers in their atmospheres that can mask the detection of atmospheric constituents that lie deeper down in the atmosphere. These cloud or haze layers have been found to be concealing the presence of water vapour in the atmospheres of hot-Jupiters.When a transiting planet passes in front of its host star, it blocks some of the light from its host star. The size of the transiting planet can be determined by measuring the amount of starlight it blocks. If the transiting planet is cloudy or hazy, it is expected to appear larger when observed in optical wavelengths than in infrared wavelengths. This is because infrared radiation can penetrate clouds more readily than optical radiation (i.e. visible light). As a result, the difference in the planet's radius when its transit is observed in optical and infrared wavelengths can be used to determine whether the planet's atmosphere is cloudy or clear.Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Iyer et al. (2016) present a study of 19 hot-Jupiters. 10 of these hot-Jupiters show the ...

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