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Why This Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Is a Big Deal in the Search For Alien Life

13 Sep 2017, 17:00 UTC
Why This Exoplanet’s Hellish Atmosphere Is a Big Deal in the Search For Alien Life ESO/M. Kornmesser
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

By all accounts, the exoplanet known as WASP-19b is a pretty inhospitable place. As one of the closest known hot-Jupiters to its star—orbiting just two percent of the distance between the Earth and the Sun—it’s home to a scorchingly hot, violent atmosphere. The side of the planet which always faces the star churns with massive convection currents, dredging up heavier molecules from the planet’s lower layers.

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