Hubble Probes Bizarre Weather Conditions on Sizzling Worlds

Ultra-Hot Jupiter-Sized Exoplanet Illustration

This is an artist’s illustration of the planet KELT-20b which orbits a blue-white star. The giant planet is so close to its star (5 million miles) the torrent of ultraviolet radiation from the star heats the planet’s atmosphere to over 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This creates a thermal layer where the atmosphere increases in temperature with altitude. This is the best evidence to date – gleaned from the Hubble Space Telescope – for a host star affecting a planet’s atmosphere directly. The seeing planet is 456 light years away. Credit: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI)

Sizzling Worlds Vaporize Most of the Dust in Their Atmospheres

“When you’re hot, you’re hot!” crooned country singer Jerry Reed in a top 1971 pop music song. Hubble astronomers might change the lyrics to: “when you’re hot, you’re super-hot!”

This comes from studying planets that are so precariously close to their parent star they are being roasted at seething temperatures above 3,000 degrees[{” attribute=””>Fahrenheit. It’s raining vaporized rock on one planet, and another planet’s atmosphere is being “sunburned” by intense ultraviolet radiation from its star. This makes the upper atmosphere hotter rather than cooler.

This Hubble research provides dramatic new insights into the vast range of atmospheric conditions on other worlds, and helps astronomers build better theories for making themselves “

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