NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exoplanet so close to the sun that gases of heavy metals are escaping from the surface instead of condensing and getting hard. The exoplanet is WASP-121b and it revolves around a sun brighter and hotter than our sun. The exoplanet falls under the category of hot Jupiter owing to its sheer size.
What is so Unique about WASP-121b?
What amazes the researchers is the special characteristics of this hot Jupiter. Usually, a hot Jupiter is still cooler at the core level. However, WASP-121b is exhibiting totally opposite characteristics. The planet is as hot at the inside as it is at the surface. Researchers suggest that this property of the exoplanet is the result of its extremely close proximity to the star. When processed, data revealed that the surface temperature of this hot Jupiter is approximately 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another astonishing factor that stunned the researchers was the shape of the exoplanet. The planet has a unique shape of an American football. This unusual shape of the planet is the result of the gravitational pull of its star. Also, the extremely close distance to the star is another reason for this unusual shape of the exoplanet.
According to David Singh, lead researcher of Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, Maryland, heavy metals do escape from hot Jupiter but they remain to its lower atmosphere. However, this is not the case in this scenario. The gases of magnesium and iron is being witnessed escaping extremely far from WASP-121b. This is again because of the hugging distance of the planet from its star.
The exploration of WASP-121b is the part of panchromatic Comparative Exoplanet Treasury or PanCET survey. It is a Hubble program that intends to study 20 exoplanets. The program shall analyze the mass, size, prime large-scale ultraviolet, and finally, visible and infrared comparative study of the world far beyond.