Imagine an exoplanet that has an internal surface atmosphere of more than 1650 degree celsius and 1000 km wind speed that is unimaginable but has been discovered for the first time by researchers.
The HD189733b exoplanet’s turbulent atmosphere is too awesome to attempt any near-study approach, said researchers. “These results open up perspectives to approach the study of exoplanet atmospheres,” said astrophysicists from the Planets National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) and universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Bern in Switzerland.
Just to study the atmosphere, researchers had to depend on two approaches for doubling the verification and establish the veracity of their findings. In their first approach, they used the HARPS spectrometer and for the second, they depended on a new model to interpret its sodium lines.
The HARPS spectrometer, made by the UNIGE Observatory in Switzerland, has been installed on a telescope of the European Star Observatory (ESO)in Chile has been used for the study of the exoplanet.
Due to its stunning and incomparable atmosphere, sodium lines have been used to get a clearer and recognisable signal with its intensity varying at the time when the planet passes before its star, a celestial event called transit.
Aurelien Wyttenbach, researcher at the UNIGE, came up with the approach of sodium lines to study the atmosphere of the star during its several transits of HD189733b exoplanet.
“These findings consequently open up the path of exploring exoplanet atmospheres with tools that are more accessible than giant or space telescopes,” the researchers said. These two studies open up a new path to explore exoplanet atmospheres with tools that are more accessible than giant or space telescopes.
The papers were published in two journals — Astronomy & Astrophysics and Astrophysical Journal Letters.
A planet’s atmosphere is the basic step to study and identity a planet’s formation, evolution and whether it can sustain life.
However, the majority of data on exoplanet atmospheres is being gleaned from latest techniques such as capturing planetary transits, when a planet passes in front of its star, which was described by Princeton expert Adam Burrows as an unforeseen “game changer” when it comes to discovering new planets.
“We have in our minds that exoplanets are very complex because this is what we know about the planets in our solar system, but the data are not enough to constrain even a fraction of these conceptions,” he said.
Since photometric interpretations are “inherently flawed and ambiguous”, he suggested the future of exoplanet study should focus on spectrometry, that was employed by the Swiss researchers now to study the new exoplanet.
wherein the physical properties of objects are gauged by the interaction of its surface and elemental features with light wavelengths, or spectra. Spectrometry has been used to determine the age and expansion of the universe.
With this new approach, Burrows predicted, “Many conclusions reached recently about exoplanet atmospheres will be overturned.”
An exoplanet researcher, Burrows predicted the existence of “hot-Jupiter” planets in his paper published 20 years ago in 1995 in the journal Nature.