Current information about James Webb Space Telescope They focused on large celestial objects such as NGC 346 (in the Small Magellanic Cloud), the Orion Nebula or the irregular galaxy NGC 6822. However, the telescope also offers the opportunity to observe much smaller objects such as Europa (the moon Jupiter) too exoplanets very far away. The latest news is worrying WASP-17ba planet located about 1,300 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius.
Unlike other previously observed planets, it is not an Earth-like alien world, but is more like Jupiter due to its structure and size (however, the mass is different and is about half). Here, thanks to MIRI tool (mid infrared) it was possible to study the atmosphere of this gas giant and detect the presence of Silicon dioxide and so Quartz nanocrystals. We know this.
The James Webb Space Telescope and analyzes of the exoplanet WASP-17b
Accordingly reported together from NASA And ESA And in a scientific studythe transmission spectroscopic analysis of the atmosphere ofExoplanet WASP-17b (known as Ditsö̀) performed by James Webb Space Telescope On March 12 and 13 of this year, the presence of was detected Quartz crystals (SiO2) in the clouds. This is the first time that silicon dioxide has been detected on an exoplanet (silicates such as olivine and pyroxene are more common) and it is also the first time that a specific type of cloud has been identified on an exoplanet exoplanet.
To obtain these results, the brightness variation of 28 wavelengths in the mid-infrared during the transit in front of its star (from 5 µm to 12 µm) was examined in particular. Compared to the latter WASP-17b It orbits Earth at a distance of 0.051 AU, or one-eighth the distance between Mercury and the Sun, and completes an orbit in 3.7 Earth days. The amount of data collected in just 10 hours of observation is included 1275 measurements before, during and after transport.
An increase in the amount of light that did not reach the sensor (and was therefore absorbed by suspended particles). wavelength From 8.6 µm led astronomers to hypothesize that clouds of quartz nanocrystals were present in the atmosphereexoplanet. The latter has a diameter 1.9 times that of Jupiter, but a mass only 0.48 times.
Nicole Lewis (co-author and researcher from Cornell University) said “Hubble data actually played a key role in determining the size of these particles. We know silica exists from Webb’s MIRI data alone, but we needed Hubble’s visible and near-infrared observations to put them into context and understand how large the crystals are.”. David Grant (researcher from the University of Bristol) added that “WASP-17 b is extremely hot and the pressure at which they form in the upper atmosphere is only about a thousandth of what we experience on Earth’s surface. Under these conditions, solid crystals can form directly from the gas without first passing through a liquid phase..
The planet’s atmosphere consists primarily of hydrogen and helium, and to a lesser extent water vapor and carbon dioxide (as well as other molecules). Among other functions of WASP-17b It must also be taken into account that the temperature on the hot side is 1725 ° C and on the cold side it is 725 ° C (in the tidal block). This property is related to both the orbital distance and the properties of the Star WASP-17 (also called Diwö). In fact, it is an F-type star, which is slightly larger, more massive and hotter than the Sun.
It is difficult to understand how much quartz is present. There are clouds in the area between the hot and cold sides, but they are then able to circulate across the planet (thanks to very strong winds) and evaporate when they arrive on the hot side. By understanding the properties of the planet, we can better characterize it and therefore classify it along with its fellow planets.