One of the interesting things about WASP-62b, also called hot Jupiter, is that it is very far away, 575 light years from us.

For the first time, American astronomers encountered a Jupiter-like planet with no clouds or nebulae in its observable atmosphere. His discovery is Letters from astrophysical journals was presented by scientists at the Harvard and Smithonian Center for Astrophysics in the January issue of the scientific journal.

Named WASP-62b, the gas giant was first seen in 2012 as part of a program to search for superimposed exoplanets orbiting stars brighter than 15 in the northern and southern hemispheres. The WASP-62b was discovered with an instrument installed at a detection site in South Africa, but its atmosphere has not been studied so far.

The planet, also called “Hot Jupiter”, is 575 light-years away and has a mass about half that of Jupiter in our solar system. But while Jupiter orbits the Sun in almost 12 years, the WASP-62b gets very hot in four and a half days and its proximity to the sun.

Munazza Alam, the leader of the research, observed the planet with the Hubble Space Telescope and collected data, studying electromagnetic radiation to help detect chemical elements. It observed WASP-62b three times as it passed in front of its star, making light observations visible, allowing sodium and potassium to be observed in the planet’s atmosphere. No evidence of potassium was found, but the presence of sodium was clear. The entire sodium absorption image line or its entire footprint was made visible to the research team.

If there was a cloud or fog in the planet’s atmosphere, they would hide the sodium mark. This is clear evidence that we are seeing a clean environment. “

Alam explained.

Planets without clouds are very rare, astronomers estimate that less than seven percent of exoplanets can have a clean atmosphere. In 2018 the first and so far only known exoplanet with a clean atmosphere was discovered. WASP-96b has been classified in the Saturn family because it is similar in mass to this planet.

By studying exoplanets with a cloudless atmosphere, astronomers can better understand how they formed. Their rarity assumes that something different is happening in their case, or that they have a different shape from most planets. The clean atmosphere facilitates the study of the chemical composition of the planets, which helps to identify what they are made of. The launch of the James Webb Telescope during the year will create new opportunities to study these planets, including WASP-62b.

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