VLT first noticed titanium oxide in exoplanet

VLT first noticed titanium oxide in exoplanet

The artistic interpretation of the exoplanet WASP-19b, where scientists were able to fix titanium oxide for the first time. In large quantities, it is capable of not transmitting heat, which leads to thermal inversion

Scientists have recently begun a detailed study of the atmosphere WASP-19b. On the mass of the exoplanet, it reaches the Jupiter index, but is located so close to its star that it flies around in just 19 hours. The atmosphere warms up to 2000 ° C.

When an object passes in front of a star, a part of the starlight breaks through the atmosphere and makes it possible to identify its composition. This helps the FORS2 tool on the VLT (Very Large Telescope). It turned out that in the atmosphere there is a small amount of titanium oxide, water and sodium. But finding molecules is a difficult task. For this purpose, an algorithm that studies millions of spectra was used. On Earth, titanium oxide is rare. It is believed that it exists in the atmospheric layers of cold stars. But in the WASP-19b, it functions as a heat sink. If there is a lot of it, then the molecules do not allow heat to penetrate the planet and do not let it out. This causes thermal inversion. In our case, this is due to ozone.

For more than a year, researchers studied WASP-19b, measuring the relative dimensions of the radius at different lengths of light. New data will improve existing models of exoplanetary atmospheres.

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