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Hubble spots football like heavy metal planet thats leaking metals into space

Hubble spots football like heavy metal planet thats leaking metals into space

Its odd, football-like shape is also due to the planet's close proximity to the host star as it is on the verge of being ripped apart by the star's gravity.

"This planet is a prototype for ultra-hot Jupiters". The answer is when heavy metals are detected escaping from the planet's atmosphere, instead of condensing into clouds.

Normally, hot Jupiter-sized planets are still cool enough inside to condense heavier elements such as magnesium and iron into clouds.

If you were to make a list of exoplanets that would be worth visiting in person, WASP-121b wouldn't be anywhere near the top of your list. The distant planet's atmosphere is so hot that metal is vaporizing and escaping the planet's gravitational pull. This means WASP-121b's lower atmosphere is so hot the metals stay in a gaseous form.

"The easiest way to understand it is like the ocean tides on Earth from the Moon", David Sing, the lead author of the new study and an astronomer at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, told Gizmodo.

As Singh explains, both of these facts suggests that the star WASP-121 active "fleeces" the atmosphere of the satellite, causing it to "swell" under the influence of heat and light, and stretch under the influence of its gravity. The escaping magnesium and iron gas may also contribute to the temperature spike. Until scientists determine whether or not the planet is eligible, our trustworthy satellites continuously make discoveries, finding some of the most freakish exoplanets in the galaxy.

"These planets are so heavily irradiated by their host stars, they're nearly like stars themselves". Fortunately, they had access to data from the NASA TESS mission, which "gave us good constraints on how active the star is, which helped rule out stellar activity as a possible signal", Sing told Gizmodo.

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"We thought we had a chance of seeing heavier elements escaping. It's so hot and so favourable to observe, it's the best shot at finding the presence of heavy metals", noted Sing in a Hubble press release.

"We were mainly looking for magnesium, but there have been hints of iron in the atmospheres of other exoplanets".

Aside from the increase in temperature and the leak in the atmosphere, the host star has another effect on the planet that's more apparent.

The Hubble Space Telescope has found a very weird "heavy metal" planet that has scientists as excited as a superfan at a Metallica show. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope should be able to characterize its atmosphere even more accurately.

The WASP-121b study is part of the Panchromatic Comparative Exoplanet Treasury (PanCET) survey, a Hubble program to look at 20 exoplanets, ranging in size from several to more than 100 times Earth's mass. They watched the planet during transits, when the planet passes in front of its star as viewed from Earth.

"Hot Jupiters are mostly made of hydrogen, and Hubble is very sensitive to hydrogen, so we know these planets can lose the gas relatively easily", Dr. Sing said. "It's a very efficient mechanism for mass loss".

The Hubble Telescope, developed jointly by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Space Telescope Science Institute, has been making space observations since 1990.