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Astronomers Directly Detect Iron and Titanium on an Exoplanet for the First Time

15 Aug 2018, 17:00 UTC
Astronomers Directly Detect Iron and Titanium on an Exoplanet for the First Time NASA/JPL-Caltech

Scientists directly observed the signal of iron and titanium atoms in the atmosphere of an exoplanet 600 light-years from Earth, a new paper reports.

KELT-9b is a planet entirely alien to our own Solar System—it’s 2.88 times the mass of Jupiter, with a year lasting just 1.5 Earth days and temperatures over 4,000 Kelvin (6,740 Fahrenheit). It’s the hottest known exoplanet, and the site of the first exoplanetary observation of iron and titanium atoms. It’s a stepping stone that will help astronomers one day characterize the atmospheres of more hospitable planets.

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