A recent study about archival observations by the Spitzer Space Telescope found a common trait among distant worlds where exotic clouds are created.

Clouds on Earth are mostly made of water, but beyond our planet, they are found in various chemical varieties. For instance, the top of Jupiter’s atmosphere is covered in yellow-hued clouds made up of ammonia and ammonium hydrosulfide. On worlds outside our solar system, there are clouds made up of silicates, the family of rock-forming minerals that make up over 90% of Earth’s crust. However, researchers could not observe the conditions under which these clouds of tiny dust grains are created.

A new study revealed in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society delivers some insight. The research discloses the temperature range at which silicate clouds take shape and are visible at the top of a distant planet’s atmosphere. The outcome was derived from studies by NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope of brown dwarfs. These celestial bodies fall in between planets and stars, yet it fits into a more comprehensive understanding of how planetary atmospheres work.

“Understanding the atmospheres of brown dwarfs and planets where silicate clouds can form can also help us understand what we would see in the atmosphere of a planet that’s closer in size and temperature to Earth,” explained Stanimir Metchev, a professor of exoplanet studies at Western University in London, Ontario, and co-author of the study.

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Alice is the Chief Editor with relevant experience of three years, Alice has founded Galaxy Reporters. She has a keen interest in the field of science. She is the pillar behind the in-depth coverages of Science news. She has written several papers and high-level documentation.


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