Evaporated metals found in the atmosphere of the planet, where a year lasts two days

WASP-121b has been widely studied since the discovery of the planet. “Earlier studies have shown that in its atmosphere

a lot is going on, ”Hoymakers said. This is despite the fact that astronomers assumed that superhot planets have fairly simple atmospheres, because not many complex chemical compounds can form in such a blazing heat. So how did the WASP-121b get such unexpected complexity?

In addition to the rare metal vanadium and titanium, scientistsrecently discovered six other metals in the atmosphere of WASP-121b: iron, chromium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and nickel. "All metals have evaporated as a result of the high temperatures prevailing on WASP-121b," explains Hoymeakers, "so the air on an exoplanet, among other things, is composed of evaporated metals."

Such detailed results allowresearchers draw conclusions about the chemical processes taking place, for example, on such planets. This is a critical skill in the not-too-distant future when larger, more sensitive telescopes and spectrographs are developed. This will allow astronomers to study the properties of smaller and colder rocky planets like Earth. “With the same methods we use today, instead of just detecting the signatures of iron or vanadium gas, we can focus on biosignatures, signs of life such as signatures of water, oxygen and methane,” concludes Hoymeakers.

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