Of all the species of exoplanets that researchers have discovered in recent years with increasingly powerful telescope technologies, the so-called "hot Jupiter" may be the most interesting. They are not the kind of planet we would ever have expected life to be, but they are so different from anything we see in our own solar system that you can only wonder what they might look like.
Hot Jupiter planets are, as the name implies, gas giants like our own Jupiter, but much, much warmer. The planets orbit their host star much closer than Jupiter, causing a temperature rise. Now, a new study using data from both the Spitzer telescope and the venerable Hubble reveals something very interesting about the strange, swirling masses of hot gas.
Due to the fact that hot Jupiter circles their stars so closely, they are often tied to their host star, which means that one side of the planet is always facing the star, while the other side is always dark. However, as the temperatures of the sunlit side of the Gasworlds can change by well over a thousand degrees, one would think that the dark sides of various hot Jupiter had little to do with each other.
The published study in Nature Astronomy suggests that this is not the case and that the dark side temperatures of hot Jupiter are typically quite similar. Of the 1
"Atmospheric circulation models predicted that nighttime temperatures should vary much more than they do," first author Dylan Keating said in a statement. "That's really surprising, as the planets we study are irradiated differently by their host stars and the daytime temperatures between them vary by nearly 1700 ° C."
So the temperatures of the dark sides of hot Jupiter remain so The researchers believe that There must be some insulating properties, such as mineral-rich clouds that keep the temperature constant.