Hubble reveals most detailed exoplanet weather map ever

ESA/Hubble WASP-43b NEWS

Exoplanet WASP-43b orbits its parent star
In this artist???s illustration the Jupiter-sized planet WASP-43b??orbits its parent star in one of the closest orbits ever measured for an exoplanet of its size ??? with a year lasting just 19 hours.
The planet is tidally locked, meaning it keeps one hemisphere facing the star, just as the Moon keeps one face toward Earth.
The colour scale on the planet represents the temperature across its atmosphere. This is based on data from a recent study that mapped the temperature of WASP-43b in more detail than has been done for any other exoplanet

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Space Telescope?? –?? A team of scientists using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have made the most detailed map ever of the temperature of an exoplanet???s atmosphere, and traced the amount of water it contains.

The planet targeted for both of the investigations was the hot-Jupiter exoplanet WASP-43b.

WASP-43b is a planet the size of Jupiter but with double the mass and an orbit much closer to its parent star than any planet in the Solar System.

It has one of the shortest years ever measured for an exoplanet of its size ??? lasting just 19 hours.

A team of astronomers working on two companion studies have now created detailed weather maps of WASP-43b.

One study mapped the temperature at different layers in the planet???s atmosphere, and the other traced the amount and distribution of water vapour within it ??? detail is shown in the video created by the team.

???Our observations are the first of their kind in terms of providing a two-dimensional map of the planet???s thermal structure,??? said Kevin Stevenson from University of Chicago, USA, lead author of the thermal map study.

???These maps can be used to constrain circulation models that predict how heat is transported from an exoplanet’s hot day side to its cool night side.???

The planet has different sides for day and night because it is tidally locked, meaning that it keeps one hemisphere facing the star, just as the Moon keeps one face toward Earth.

The Hubble observations show that the exoplanet has winds that howl at the speed of sound from a day side that is hot enough to melt iron ??? soaring above 1500 ??C ????? to the pitch-black night side that sees temperatures plunge to a comparatively cool 500 ??C.

To Read the entire story on the Space Telescope webpage, visit: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1422/.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

The international team of astronomers in these two studies consists of:

  • L. Kreidberg (University of Chicago, USA);
  • J. Bean(University of Chicago, USA);
  • J-M. Desert (University of Colorado, USA);
  • M.R. Line (University of California, USA);
  • J.J. Fortney (University of California, USA);
  • N. Madhusudhan (University of Cambridge, UK);
  • K.B. Stevenson (University of Chicago, USA);
  • A.P. Showman (The University of Arizona, USA);
  • D. Charbonneau (Harvard University, USA);
  • P.R. McCullough (Space Telescope Science Institute, USA);
  • S. Seager (Massachussetts Insitute of Technology, USA);
  • A. Burrows (Princeton University, USA);
  • G.W. Henry (Tennessee State University, USA),
  • M.Williamson (Tennessee State University, USA);
  • T. Kataria (The University of Arizona, USA) &
  • D. Homeier (CRAL/??cole Normale Sup??rieure de Lyon, France).