Recently, a team of astronomers led by David Ehrenreich, a professor from the University of Geneva, made an impressive discovery. Rain as you probably assume involves water, but how about an exoplanet that encounters an iron rain? The finding covered in research was published in the journal Nature and displays an exoplanet’s strange weather habits.
Iron Rain on the Recently Found Exoplanet Was Explained
The identified exoplanet is almost 390 light-years away in the constellation of Pisces. The discovered iron rain occurs due to one of the exoplanet’s edges action. It perpetually faces its host star, wreathing one part of the exoplanet in endless daylight. Its opposite edge, on the other hand, encounters a constant night. Such a phenomenon, however, is known as tidally locked orbit.
So, the exoplanet, dubbed WASP-76b, orbits its star once for each time it circles once around its axis. It resembles Earth’s Moon a lot, and that’s why we only ever notice one side of the Moon. WASP-7b gets lots of time more radiation than our planet on its daypart from its host star. The extreme heat on the star-facing part makes metals such as iron to evaporate into the atmosphere.
More Details on the Bizzare Exoplanet’s Weather
The radiative weather then turns those molecules into divided atoms. The drastic temperature difference also has a significant role. It brings some very breezy winds that transport the iron vapor to the night part. When it reached that side, it condenses and rains down.
Maria Rosa Zapatero Osorio is an astrophysicist from the Center for Astrobiology in Madrid and part of the research team. She explained: A fraction of this iron is injected into the night side owing to the planet’s rotation and atmospheric winds. there, the iron encounters much cooler environments, condenses, and rains down.”
Astronomers also discovered that the droplets rain down in liquid form, not as they thought, as metal hail. An artist’s impression of the phenomenon can be observed here.