Scientists discover a Jupiter alike planet without clouds.

Astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have detected the first Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its observable atmosphere. The findings were published this month in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Named WASP-62b, the gas giant was first detected in 2012 through the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) South survey. Its atmosphere, however, had never been closely studied until now.

“For my thesis, I have been working on exoplanet characterization,” says Munazza Alam, a graduate student at the Center for Astrophysics who led the study. “I take discovered planets and I follow up on them to characterize their atmospheres.”

Known as a “hot Jupiter,” WASP-62b is 575 light years away and about half the mass of our solar system’s Jupiter. However, unlike our Jupiter, which takes nearly 12 years to orbit the sun, WASP-62b completes a rotation around its star in just four-and-a-half days. This proximity to the star makes it extremely hot, hence the name “hot Jupiter.”

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Alam recorded data and observations of the planet using spectroscopy, the study of electromagnetic radiation to help detect chemical elements. Alam specifically monitored WASP-62b as it swept in front of its host star three times, making visible light observations, which can detect the presence of sodium and potassium in a planet’s atmosphere.


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Astronomers at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian have detected the first Jupiter-like planet without clouds or haze in its observable atmosphere. The findings were published this month in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Named WASP-62b, the gas giant was first detected in 2012 through the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) South survey. Its atmosphere, however, had never been closely studied until now.

“For my thesis, I have been working on exoplanet characterization,” says Munazza Alam, a graduate student at the Center for Astrophysics who led the study. “I take discovered planets and I follow up on them to characterize their atmospheres.”

Known as a “hot Jupiter,” WASP-62b is 575 light years away and about half the mass of our solar system’s Jupiter. However, unlike our Jupiter, which takes nearly 12 years to orbit the sun, WASP-62b completes a rotation around its star in just four-and-a-half days. This proximity to the star makes it extremely hot, hence the name “hot Jupiter.”

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Alam recorded data and observations of the planet using spectroscopy, the study of electromagnetic radiation to help detect chemical elements. Alam specifically monitored WASP-62b as it swept in front of its host star three times, making visible light observations, which can detect the presence of sodium and potassium in a planet’s atmosphere.


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