telescope National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) James Webb has discovered clouds of sand on a rare exoplanet. According to the team responsible for the discovery, this is the first time this type of phenomenon has been observed on a celestial body outside the solar system.
Dense clouds rich in silicate grains (made up of silicon and oxygen) surround a brown dwarf called VHS 1256 b, which is 20 times the size of Jupiter.
In addition to sand clouds, NASA’s Super Telescope has detected water, methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sodium and potassium in the atmospheres of exoplanets. VHS 1256 b, located 72 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corvo, was discovered in 2016. It often attracts the attention of astronomers because of its reddish glow.
The data obtained by James Webb is so detailed that it showed that the proportion of different gases changes throughout the brown dwarf’s atmosphere – indicating that it is a wild and turbulent place.
“In a calm atmosphere, there is an expected ratio of, say, methane and carbon monoxide,” Sasha Henke, an astronomer at the University of Exeter in the UK, explained to the magazine. Forbes. “But in many of the atmospheres of exoplanets, we find that this ratio is very skewed, which indicates the presence of turbulent vertical mixing in these atmospheres.”
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