Archival observations of 25 hot Jupiters by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have been analysed by an international team of astronomers, enabling them to answer five open questions important to our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres. Amongst other findings, the team found that the presence of metal oxides and hydrides in the hottest exoplanet atmospheres was clearly correlated with the atmospheres’ being thermally inverted.
The first exoplanet detection happened only 30 years ago—but now, thanks to rapid advances in observation and data processing technologies, astronomers are working to not only detect exoplanets, but also to characterize them. This work—enabled by a supercomputer at the University of Cambridge—is providing unprecedented understanding of these extraterrestrial atmospheres.
Header image: artist’s impression of the 25 hot Jupiters. Image courtesy of ESA/Hubble.
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