Tag Archives: WASP-178b

NASA press release: Hubble probes extreme weather on ultra-hot Jupiters

Here’s a quick catch-up on a recent NASA/ESA press release. Based on Hubble Space Telescope observations of WASP-178b and KELT-20b, NASA declare:

“In studying a unique class of ultra-hot exoplanets, NASA Hubble Space Telescope astronomers may be in the mood for dancing to the Calypso party song “Hot, Hot, Hot.” That’s because these bloated Jupiter-sized worlds are so precariously close to their parent star they are being roasted at seething temperatures above 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hot enough to vaporize most metals, including titanium. They have the hottest planetary atmospheres ever seen.”

Illustration of an ultra-hot Jupiter (Credit: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak (STScI) )

“In a paper in the April 6 journal Nature, astronomers describe Hubble observations of WASP-178b, located about 1,300 light-years away. On the daytime side the atmosphere is cloudless, and is enriched in silicon monoxide gas. Because one side of the planet permanently faces its star, the torrid atmosphere whips around to the nighttime side at super-hurricane speeds exceeding 2,000 miles per hour. On the dark side, the silicon monoxide may cool enough to condense into rock that rains out of clouds, but even at dawn and dusk, the planet is hot enough to vaporize rock. “We knew we had seen something really interesting with this silicon monoxide feature,” said Josh Lothringer of the Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.”

The press release has been taken up by over 50 press and media websites.