WASP-18b is a giant exoplanet located about 330 light years from Earth. It is about 10 times more mbadive than Jupiter and orbits very close to its host star. The exoplanet was first discovered in 2009 and continues to be a source of fascination.
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Recently, researchers have found evidence that this "hot Jupiter" is surrounded by a suffocating layer of carbon dioxide. In addition, it is almost completely devoid of water and has extremely high temperatures. The composition of the exoplanet appears to be totally different from that of Jupiter and other gaseous giants in the planetary systems, and the researchers suggest that it may not have formed as other gaseous giants did. The discovery questions the prevailing theories about the event that shaped hot Jupiters.
"The composition of WASP-18b defies all expectations," said lead researcher Kyle Sheppard of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt. "We do not know of any other extrasolar planet where carbon monoxide completely dominates the upper atmosphere."
Exoplanets show subtle fingerprints at wavelengths of infrared light that help determine their atmosphere. When the researchers badyzed the peculiar fingerprint of WASP-18b, they discovered that it does not resemble any exoplanet examined so far.
the data is a glut of carbon monoxide and very little water vapor in the atmosphere of WASP-18b, in addition to the presence of a stratosphere, "said Nikku Madhusudhan, co-author of the study at the University of Cambridge, UK "This rare combination of factors opens a new window in our understanding of physical and chemical processes in exoplanetary atmospheres."
The results also indicate that WASP-18b has hot carbon monoxide in the stratosphere and colder carbon monoxide. in the layer of the atmosphere below, called the troposphere.This is the first time that researchers have detected both types of fingerprints in the atmosphere of an exoplanet.
Observing hot Juptiers as WASP-18b could help astronomers To understand how they are formed, their detailed badysis could offer crucial ideas about the physical processes responsible for the generation of such planets.