The top of the planet’s atmosphere is heated to a blazing 2,500 degrees Celsius (4,600 Fahrenheit), hot enough to boil some metals. [Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STSci)]
BERN, Switzerland (University of Bern PR) — An international team of researchers led by the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS of the University of Bern and the University of Geneva studied the atmosphere of the ultra-hot exoplanet WASP-121b. In it, they found a number of gaseous metals. The results are a next step in the search for potentially habitable worlds.
WASP-121b is an exoplanet located 850 light years from Earth, orbiting its star in less than two days – a process that takes Earth a year to complete. WASP-121b is very close to its star – about 40 times closer than Earth to the Sun. This close proximity is also the main reason for its immensely high temperature of around 2,500 to 3,000 degrees Celsius. This makes it an ideal object of study to learn more about ultra-hot worlds.
Researchers led by Jens Hoeijmakers, first author of the study and postdoctoral research fellow at the National Centre of Competence in Research PlanetS at the Universities of Bern and Geneva, ...