Beacon Transcript – Recent research has spotted an unusual cloud system on a known giant exoplanet, unusual in that it may be formed as based on a sapphire and rubies base component.
In recent years, scientists and space enthusiasts have taken to studying the so-called exoplanets. In between 2009 and 2013, the Kepler telescope system was used in order to track down such stars.
Its observations revealed the presence of thousand such planets orbiting around distant suns. Since then, scientists have moved to studying them.
One of the targets of this research is finding an Earth-like planet. However, until then, researchers have made a new, interesting discovery.
The discovery belongs to a team of University of Warwick scientists led by David Armstrong. Research on the subject was released earlier this week, on December 12.
It was published in the Nature Astronomy journal under the following name. “Variability in the atmosphere of the hot giant planet HAT-P-7 b”.
Data for the study was gathered from previous space observations registered by the Kepler telescope. The analyzed information contained data on an approximated number of 100,000 stars.
HAT-P-7 b was one such star. This is the name given to one the largest as yet known exoplanets. As it was discovered that the planet is a gas giant, it has been compared to Jupiter.
The gas exoplanet is situated some 1,044 light-years away from our system. Recent research of the star revealed a somewhat unexpected property.
As the team of scientists was studying the Kepler observations, they noticed the planet’s shifting brightest point.
Further studies revealed that the said brightest point moves around. Its position change was observed over a period of several months and years.
Following this observation, Armstrong and the research team concluded the following. According to the team, the giant exoplanet may hold an active cloud system.
This means that the planet’s clouds are moving around in its atmosphere. As such, this would explain the world’s light change.
Further studies may have also potentially revealed their consistency. And according to the researchers, it is precious, priceless one.
According to studies, HAT-P-7 b may be covered in corundum clouds. Corundum is a mineral found in the componence of stones such as sapphires and rubies.
The planet was revealed to have two constant temperature sides. As it is tidally locked, one side of the exoplanet is never warmed by its system’s sun.
In contrast, the Sun-facing side is very hot, and as such, it is not expected to be able to hold clouds. The temperature differences should also account for the planet’s strong winds.
Researchers have taken to explaining the bright light place change as follows. With the colder side sporting clouds, these are believed to circulate.
As the cloud system circulates, it may also reach the day side of the gas exoplanet. The composition of such clouds was also presumed as based on these observations.
With the clouds being able to resist on the hot side, they must be made of different components. Corundum has been known to condense at temperatures similar to those estimated for the day side.
Armstrong, the aforementioned lead, stated that the exoplanet could offer quite a spectacle. As the wind carries the clouds on the bright side, they start heating up.
As such, they get increasingly brighter, before finally burning away and offering a sky spectacle.
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