General, Research, Technology

Discovered a planet on which it rains from liquid iron

Recently astronomers of the University of Geneva withUsing the telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile, a somewhat unusual planet was discovered. This is a cloudy world whose atmosphere is so rich in iron that it rains from the sky. The exoplanet was named Wasp-76b and, according to an official press release, it has such bizarre temperatures and chemistry that super-hot days evaporate iron into the atmosphere of the planet. At night, it cools, condenses and falls back - in the form of metal drops - iron rain. Wasp-76b resembles Jupiter and is located in the constellation Pisces 390 light years from Earth. But how did scientists find out about this?

In the vastness of an infinite universe, an infinite number of unusual worlds. On some of them, such as Wasp-76b, it constantly rains from iron

Exoplanet - This is a planet that is located outside our solar system. The first exoplanets were discovered in the 1980s, and by the end of January 2020, scientists were aware of the existence of 4,173 such planets.

Iron rain

According to the results of the study,published in the journal Nature, Wasp-76b is completely “locked out." This means that one and the same half of the planet is always facing its sun, and the other is shrouded in darkness. The temperature on the sunny side reaches 2398 degrees Celsius, which causes iron to evaporate in the atmosphere. When this happens, a strong wind carries iron to the dark side, where it cools and condenses, after which iron rain begins on the exoplanet. According to the authors of the study, in a press release published on the ESO website, it looks like drops of metal falling from the sky. If you saw how iron is melted, then surely remember that under the influence of high temperatures it turns into a flowing metal.

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Opened just a few years ago, Wasp-76balmost twice as large as Jupiter - the largest gas giant in our solar system - but it takes less than two days to enter the orbit of its star. Since the rotation of the planet coincides with the time it takes to complete the passage of the orbit, the same side is always facing the star. So on this side that does not look into the abyss of the cosmic ocean, it is always a day, and the sky is clear. However, on the dark side, the temperature drops to about 1482 degrees Celsius, and the sky is constantly covered by clouds, from which metal precipitation falls.

One side of an exoplanet, similar to Jupiter, is facing the Sun all the time, the other is looking at the stars

Gusts of strong wind, whose speedexceeds 6835 kilometers per hour, part of the evaporated iron is constantly transferred from the day to the night side of the planet. Inside the transition zone from day to night, when the temperature begins to fall, clouds seem to form. At the same time, iron vapor is not visible in the morning, the researchers note. So astronomers came to the conclusion that the most likely explanation is that on the dark side there are iron rains. To study in detail the extreme climate of an exoplanet similar to Jupiter, the team was able to use the new tool of the Very large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

Cosmic romance

Although previously vaporized iron was discovered inan even hotter and more distant world, it is believed that it remains in a gaseous state throughout the planet. Researchers believe that the first case of iron condensation was recorded on Wasp-76b. One way or another, a traveler who decides to go to Wasp-76b will definitely need a durable umbrella (preferably made of metal) that melts at much higher temperatures.

“Evening at Wasp-76b.”

On a funny illustration created by graphicby artist Frederick Peters specially for a research team, a dancing astronaut holds an umbrella in front of an orange waterfall. “We sing in the rain of iron,” says the inscription above.

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