Glow of an exoplanet could also be from starlight reflecting off liquid iron

Image of a planet on a dark background, with an iridescent circle on the right side of the planet.

Enlarge / Artist impression of a glory on exoplanet WASP-76b. (credit score: ESA)

Do rainbows exist on distant worlds? Many phenomena that occur on Earth—comparable to rain, hurricanes, and auroras—additionally happen on different planets in our Photo voltaic System if the circumstances are proper. Now we’ve got proof from exterior our Photo voltaic System that one significantly unusual exoplanet would possibly even be displaying one thing near a rainbow.

Showing within the sky as a halo of colours, a phenomenon referred to as a “glory” happens when gentle hits clouds made up of a homogeneous substance within the type of spherical droplets. It may be the reason for a thriller relating to observations of exoplanet WASP-76B. This planet, a scorching gasoline large that experiences molten iron rain, has additionally been noticed to have extra gentle on its japanese terminator (a line used to separate the day facet from the night time facet) than its western terminator. Why was there extra gentle on one facet of the planet?

After observing it with the CHEOPS house telescope, then combining that with earlier observations from Hubble, Spitzer, and TESS, a crew of researchers from ESA and the College of Bern in Switzerland now suppose that the probably purpose for the additional gentle is a glory.

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