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What Are Exoplanets?

What Are Exoplanets?

In a new study, scientists have detected barium in the upper atmosphere of two giant exoplanets for the first time.

  • Ultra-hot Jupiters are a class of hot gaseous planets that matches the size of Jupiter, but they have short orbital periods, unlike Jupiter.

What are Exoplanets?

  • An exoplanet or extrasolar planet is a planet outside the Solar System. The first confirmation of detection of exoplanets occurred in 1992.
  • More than 4,400 exoplanets have been discovered till now.
  • They are very hard to see directly with telescopes. They are hidden by the bright glare of the stars they orbit.
  • So, astronomers use other ways to detect and study exoplanets such as looking at the effects these planets have on the stars they orbit.

Findings :

  • The exoplanets are two ultra-hot Jupiters WASP-76b and WASP-121b which orbit their host stars WASP 76 and WASP 121.
  • The former is about 640 light-years away from the Earth and the latter around 900 light-years away.
  • Both WASP-76b and WASP-121b complete one orbit in two days.
  • Surface temperatures in these bodies reach as high as 1,000 degrees Celsius. These bodies have unique features owing to their high temperatures.
  • For instance, WASP-76b experiences iron rain.
  • The presence of hydrogen, lithium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, vanadium, chromium, manganese and iron in the atmosphere of the WASP-76 b has also been confirmed in addition to barium.
  • In WASP 121b, they confirmed the presence of lithium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, vanadium, chromium, manganese, iron and nickel.
  • Additionally, the team found elements such as cobalt and strontium.
  • They also found indications of titanium in the exoplanet.