Yes! The Astronomers have finally succeeded in tracing the first exoplanets devoid of clouds. The official news comes ahead with the paper published in the journal Nature on Monday, i.e., May 07, 2018. It is the WASP-96b which marks the history to be the first ever exoplanets without any clouds surrounding it. The WASP-96b is also known as the ‘Hot Sun.’ It has a sizzling temperature of 1,300 Kelvin, which equals to the 1027 degrees Celsius or 1880 degrees Fahrenheit. It is a similar mass to the Saturn and is at a distance of nine hundred and eighty light-years away in the Phoenix constellation.
The scientists used the spectroscopic technique to probe the exoplanets. The job of the researcher is to analyze the data from the Very Large Telescope. It filters the sunlight passing through the exoplanet’s atmosphere. The phenomenon marks its presence when the exoplanets transit the host star into bifurcated elements.
Each element has its electronic configuration. This electronic configuration decides the characteristic wavelength to be absorbed and emitted in the planet’s spectra.
Nikolov explains, “Until now, sodium was revealed either as a very narrow peak or found to be completely missing. This is because the characteristic ‘tent-shaped’ profile can only be produced deep in the atmosphere of the planet and for most planet clouds appear to get in the way.” Nikolay Nikolov is the first author of the research paper. He is also a research fellow in the domains of the physics and astronomy at the University of the Exeter.
It is believed that majority of the exoplanets are encircled in a hazy gaseous layer. It is indeed vital to conclude a study on the atmosphere and the clouds, which proves to be a boon to discover the amount of the energy it absorbs and subsequently radiates back to space.
Ernst de Mooij concludes, “WASP-96b will also provide us with a unique opportunity to determine the abundances of other molecules, such as water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide with future observations.” Ernst de Mooij is the co-author of the same study. He is also an academic from the Dublin City University.
We wish the entire team involved in the study, with a GOOD LUCK in their future endeavors!