Home » News & Blogs » Water in ultrahot Jupiters is perpetually broken down and reformed
Bookmark and Share
All About Space

Water in ultrahot Jupiters is perpetually broken down and reformed

10 Aug 2018, 08:35 UTC
Water in ultrahot Jupiters is perpetually broken down and reformed
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Observations from NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, accompanied by computer simulations, have led to these results. Image credit: NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STSci)
Imagine a place where the weather forecast is always the same: scorching temperatures, relentlessly sunny, and with absolutely zero chance of rain. This hellish scenario exists on the permanent daysides of a type of planet found outside our solar system dubbed an “ultrahot Jupiter.” These worlds orbit extremely close to their stars, with one side of the planet permanently facing the star.
What has puzzled scientists is why water vapour appears to be missing from the toasty worlds’ atmospheres, when it is abundant in similar but slightly cooler planets. Observations of ultrahot Jupiters by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, combined with computer simulations, have served as a springboard for a new theoretical study that may have solved this mystery.
According to the new study, ultrahot Jupiters do in fact possess the ingredients for water (hydrogen and oxygen atoms). But due to strong irradiation on the planet’s daysides, temperatures there get so intense that water molecules are completely torn apart.
“The daysides of these worlds are furnaces that look more like a stellar atmosphere than a planetary atmosphere,” ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day

astronomy_pod