The understand the condition of exoplanets, NASA research team have created the atmosphere of a super-hot planet outside the solar system, here on Earth.
Scientists at NASA’s JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) in California has used a high-temperature ‘oven’ to hit a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen to around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (1100 Celsius), which is the temperature of molten lava.
The object of his experiment was to stimulate conditions, which might be found in the atmosphere of a type of exoplanets called ‘hot Jupiters’, said NASA.
An extrasolar planet is a planet that is outside the solar system, and ‘hot Jupiters’ are gas giants with orbits near to their parent stars, unlike most planets placed in our solar system.
The research team started with a simple mixture of 0.3 percent carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which is heated to 330-1230 Celsius. They can further expose it to a high dose of UV (Ultraviolet) radiation.
The tests were published in the Astrophysical Journal, released some new details regarding the possible alien atmospheres. Observations of the real planets have shown that their atmospheres are often opaque, even during low pressure where clouds are not been able to form.
The artificial atmosphere of the team also came out opaque due to the UV light, which forms organic aerosols- solid particles in the air.
A JPL Research Scientist, Benjamin Fleury said that “this result changes the way we interpret those hazy hot Jupiter atmospheres.”
“Now we want to study properties of these aerosols. We want to understand how they form, absorb light and respond to changes in the environment,” he added.
Fleury further said, “This can help astronomers understand what they’re seeing when they observe those planets.”
The study further showed chemical reactions, which were produced significant amounts of water and carbon dioxide.
Coauthor Mark Swain, a JPL exoplanet scientist said that “these new results are immediately useful for interpreting what we see in hot Jupiter atmospheres.”
“We assume that temperature dominates chemistry in these atmospheres, but we also need to look at how radiation plays a role,” added Swain.