Hubble Space Telescope Discovers Hot 'Heavy Metal' Exoplanet Shaped Like A Football!

This artist’s illustration shows WASP-121b an alien world that is losing magnesium and iron gas from its atmosphere. Image credit NASA  ESA  J. Olmsted STScI

In fact, WASP-121b's upper atmosphere is around 10 times hotter than that of any other known planet, scientists say.

"Hellish" planet WASP-121b, opened four years ago in the constellation the Poop, was similar in shape not on the ball, and a giant elongated egg or ball for American football. Its odd, football-like shape is also due to the planet's close proximity to the host star as it is on the verge of being ripped apart by the star's gravity. This is a hot Jupiter with 1.2 times the mass of Jupiter itself. This gas creates the planet's early atmosphere as it's forming.

Not only did they find first-of-their-kind signatures of venting heavy metals, the researchers got a better sense for why the planet's upper atmosphere is so darn hot. There are other planets hot enough to boil iron and magnesium at the planetary surface, but once in the atmosphere, gravity and cooler environs conspire to condense those elements into clouds. "So you don't know if they are escaping or not". Hubble's observations of WASP-121b demonstrate the first time heavy metal gas has been detected floating away from an exoplanet, NASA said in a press release. Until scientists determine whether or not the planet is eligible, our trustworthy satellites continuously make discoveries, finding some of the most freaky exoplanets in the galaxy. These freaky atmospheres mostly contain lighter-weight gases hydrogen and helium and they break apart as the planet moves in close proximity to its star. The intense heat from its nearby star has made WASP-121b puff up like a marshmallow.

"This planet is a prototype for extremely-hot Jupiters". This helped them study how heavy metals escaped the exoplanet.

"We were mainly looking for magnesium, but there have been hints of iron in the atmospheres of other exoplanets". The planet and its escaping gases are too far away to see directly, even at their scorching temperatures. The heavy metals are escaping partly because the planet is so big and puffy that its gravity is relatively weak.


Nine-hundred light-years from Earth, there's a football-shaped planet so hot that heavy metals boil through its atmosphere, venting into space.

Iron and magnesium gases are escaping the atmosphere of WASP-121b, a hot Jupiter located around 880 light-years from Earth, according to new research published today in the Astronomical Journal. The upcoming James Webb Space Telescope should be able to characterize its atmosphere even more accurately.

WASP-121b study is a part of the Panchromatic Comparative Exoplanet Treasury (PanCET Survey) which is basically a Hubble program that looks over 20 exoplanets that range in size from Super Earths to Jupiter.

Once a planet like WASP-121b moves closer to its star, the early atmosphere is destroyed and burned away. When planets form, they gather an atmosphere containing gas from the disk in which the planet and star formed. Hydrogen and helium are the most abundant elements throughout the universe, so they're common building blocks for the young planet atmospheres.

Researchers further pointed out that hot Jupiters are mostly made up of hydrogen, and since Hubble is very sensitive to hydrogen, it's relatively easier for these planets to lose the gas. However, the hydrogen and helium gas on WASP-121b is outflowing, akin to a river, dragging the metals with them, Sing continued. "It's a very efficient mechanism for mass loss". It was discovered in a star system in 2015 by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope.

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