STATES CHRONICLE – This question has puzzled scientists for some time now, but fortunately, a possible reason has been found for the exoplanets’ lacking water.
A recent study has looked at 10 hot Jupiters in order to gather observations about different types of atmosphere. Hot Jupiters are planets similar to the fifth planet from the Sun in that they are hot and gaseous.
About 2,000 exoplanets have been found, but up until recently, they have been very difficult to study. Exoplanets are planets that orbit other stars than the Sun. As they are very close to their stars, the very bright light makes it difficult for scientists to study them in detail.
But this time, astronomers have used two different telescopes, the Hubble and the Spitzer from NASA and have succeeded in making very valuable observations.
Studying these planets was made possible because each one of them comes to be positioned in front of the parent star and as this happens, the atmosphere leaves a fingerprint on the starlight.
Then, when the light reaches Earth, that fingerprint can be studied.
The main puzzle was why, when looking at them, the planets appeared to have less water than they should have, according to the predictions made by the present theories.
The reason appears to be connected with the presence of clouds and haze in the atmospheres of these planets. And clouds and haze are known to hide water from sight. And it turned out that the planets that were surrounded by clouds had fewer signs of water presence, while those that were not had more.
Had they not been able to produce this possible explanation, the scientists might have been obliged to accept the alternative hypothesis, namely that planets form in a dry environment.
But unfortunately, this contradicts everything that is known and believed about the formation of planets. Nor is it plausible from the scientists’ viewpoint.
Also, it would have required astronomy to completely change its paradigm about the way in which planets are born, which would have been unfeasible at this point.
Image source: www.upload.wikipedia.org