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Astronomy: Observing a “glow of glory” on an exoplanet

Astronomy: Observing a “glow of glory” on an exoplanet

“Glory” is a distinct scattering of light that resembles a halo. In order to observe such a phenomenon, several basic requirements are needed.

In addition to the correct distance between the light source, the medium that characteristically scatters it, and the observer, “you need atmospheric particles that are almost perfectly spherical, perfectly uniform and stable enough to observe them over a long period of time.” The star near the planet must shine directly on it. “The observer – here Cubes – must have exactly the right direction,” says the book’s first author. Stady In the specialized journal “Astronomy and Astrophysics”, Olivier Demangione From the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Porto, Portugal.

Rain of molten iron

While this phenomenon is mostly observed on Earth, according to a statement from the European Space Agency (European Space Agency) has only been discovered once on Venus so far.

In data from the Exoplanet Characterization Satellite (Khufu) and other ESA and NASA missions found by scientists, including Wolfgang Baumjohann And Luca Fossati From the Institute for Space Research (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) in Graz and Astronomer Manuel Goodale From the University of Vienna, the first strong indications of the effect are now far away.

WASP-76b – a gas giant similar to Jupiter – will likely experience extreme conditions with intense heat and possibly a rain of molten iron. It orbits relatively closely around its parent star. Therefore, the side facing the sun has temperatures of up to 2,400 degrees Celsius, according to estimates by researchers who have been studying the exoplanet for about ten years.

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A rainbow-like phenomenon

Over the course of three years, 23 observations were made that identified an increase in the amount of light appearing at the day/night boundary in the east of the alien planet, according to a statement from the International Monetary Fund on Friday. Data analyzes using cloud and atmospheric models from the Graz Institute, among others, confirmed suspicions that we were dealing with a rainbow-like “glory” phenomenon.

Conversely, there should be very consistent clouds and consistent exoplanetary weather as well. The fact that such phenomena can be observed far away also fuels the hope that in the future we will be able to discover more about exoplanetary atmospheres, such as reflections from lakes and oceans, and thus about the presence of water.

We should continue to monitor the planet

However, researchers cannot yet determine whether this is actually the “glory” of WASP-76b. They want to point other instruments, like the James Webb Telescope, at the planet to learn more.

This is also the goal of the European Space Agency's mission.Ariel”, which is scheduled to start in 2029. The project, which will allow “to determine the atmospheric composition of exoplanets for the first time on a broad statistical basis,” is led by an Austrian researcher. Theresa Loftinger Scientifically managed.

The former employee of the Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Vienna now works at the European Space Agency and served as an outside expert on new analyzes surrounding WASP-76b. “Additional evidence is still needed so that we can show conclusively that this wonderful ‘extra light’ is actually a rare glory,” Loftinger was quoted as saying in a television broadcast.

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