The James Webb Space Telescope will begin studying the atmospheres of planets outside the Solar System. Special attention will be paid to the “hot Jupiters”, reported the website Space.
These are gas planets that orbit close to their stars. They are very hot (up to 2000 degrees Celsius). Rocks, minerals and metals can exist under such conditions only in vapor form. On Earth, some of these minerals are considered precious.
In 2017, astronomers using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) detected traces of titanium oxide in the atmosphere of the planet WASP-19b. In 2020, iron vapors were detected on the planet WASP-76b.
Very hot Jupiters always face their star on only one side. This country is heating up to super high temperatures. On the shady side it is “cooler” – about 1500 degrees Celsius. In such an environment the iron vapor condenses and falls as a shower of hot metal.
The James Webb telescope will be able to directly distinguish these minerals in the form of clouds and measure their composition using spectroscopy. The research will allow to precisely determine the chemical composition of the atmospheres and draw conclusions about the formation and evolution of the entire planetary system as a whole.