Astronomers create cloud atlas for hot, Jupiter-like exoplanets

May 26, 2020

Exoplanet Cloud Atlas Predicted cloud altitudes and compositions for a range of temperatures common on hot Jupiter planets. The range, in Kelvin, corresponds to about 800-3,500 degrees Fahrenheit, or 427-1,927 degrees Celsius. (UC Berkeley image by Peter Gao)

A team of astronomers from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have now come up with a model that predicts which of the many types of proposed clouds, from sapphire to smoggy methane haze, to expect on hot Jupiters of different temperatures, up to thousands of degrees Kelvin.

“The kinds of clouds that can exist in these hot atmospheres are things that we don’t really think of as clouds in the solar system,” said Peter Gao, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, who is first author of a paper describing the model that appeared May 25 in the journal Nature Astronomy. “There have been models that predict various compositions, but the point of this study was to assess which of these compositions actually matter and compare the model to the available data that we have.”

Read More