Scientists have been searching for habitable planets for a long time. In this process, in addition to detecting exoplanets or examining their orbits, attention is paid to many different factors. One of the most important points among these is to analyze the atmospheres of those planets well.
Barium in the atmosphere created a great surprise!
With new technologies such as the James Webb Space Telescope, we can now look at the atmospheres of exoplanets, examine the surface temperature, pressure and weather systems of the planet. We can even take a look at what materials the atmospheres of those planets consist of.
Using the ground-based Very Large Telescope, researchers from the European Southern Observatory have spotted the heaviest element ever in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Researchers examining two ultra-hot gas giants, WASP-76 b and WASP-121 b, revealed that the planets have the element Barium in their atmospheres.
The two planets orbiting extremely close to their respective stars therefore host extremely high surface temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius. In fact, it has been determined that iron is falling from the sky as rain in WASP-76b.
Researchers are surprised by the presence of Barium, a very heavy element, in the atmosphere. In a statement on the subject, Tomás Azevedo Silva and Olivier Demangeon, lead authors of the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) in Portugal, used the following statements:
The puzzling and illogical part is: Why is there such a heavy element in the upper atmospheres of these planets?
Given the planets’ high gravity, we would expect heavy elements such as barium to fall rapidly into the lower atmosphere. Researchers are still unsure what causes this rather heavy element, Barium, to appear in exoplanet atmospheres. It is stated that more research will be done to understand where barium comes from and how it is found at such high points in the atmosphere.
It is worth noting that the boiling point of barium is 1,897 degrees. So what do you think about the presence of a heavy element like Barium in the atmosphere of these exoplanets? You can share your views with us in the comments section.