Taxonomy term

hot jupiter

'Hot Jupiter' atmospheres come into focus

Imagine the planetary lovechild of Jupiter and Mercury — but even larger than the former (usually) and much closer to the sun than the latter — and a picture will emerge of so-called “hot Jupiters,” a class of huge, sizzling exoplanets that typically take just a few Earth days to orbit their parent stars. Not much is known about these mysterious worlds, only recognized since the mid-1990s, but new research is helping improve our understanding.

06 May 2016

Unprecedented low water-vapor levels detected on exoplanets

In a recent study, a team of astronomers found that the atmospheres of Jupiter-sized planets located outside of the solar system are much drier than predicted. The discovery has raised questions about the commonly held understanding of the processes involved in planet formation.

13 Aug 2014

Super-Earths: Mirrors of our world?

Fifty light-years from Earth, in the constellation Pegasus, burns a yellow star not unlike our sun. The star, called 51 Pegasi, was one of 142 stars under the watchful gaze of Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz of the University of Geneva in 1994. From the La Silla Observatory at the southern end of Chile’s vast Atacama Desert, Mayor and Queloz were tracking how these stars move in the sky, hoping to determine whether the stars were alone — or whether any of them might be accompanied by a planet or two.

31 Jul 2009