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Hubble Observes Exoplanet that Snows Sunscreen

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:43 pm

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has found a blistering hot planet outside our solar system where it "snows" sunscreen. The problem is the sunscreen (titanium oxide) precipitation only happens on the planet's permanent nighttime side. Any possible visitors to the exoplanet, called Kepler-13Ab, would need to bottle up some of that sunscreen, because they won't find it on the sizzling hot, daytime side, which always faces its host star.

Hubble astronomers suggest that powerful winds carry the titanium oxide gas around to the colder nighttime side, where it condenses into crystalline flakes, forms clouds, and precipitates as snow. Kepler-13Ab's strong surface gravity — six times greater than Jupiter's — pulls the titanium oxide snow out of the upper atmosphere and traps it in the lower atmosphere.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:44 pm

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Credits: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

This illustration shows the seething hot planet Kepler-13Ab that circles very close to its host star, Kepler-13A. On the nighttime side the planet's immense gravity pulls down titanium oxide, which precipitates as snow. Seen in the background is the star's binary companion, Kepler-13B, and the third member of the multiple-star system is the orange dwarf star, Kepler-13C

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Owlscrying
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2017 3:21 am

Unread post Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:46 pm

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Credits: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI)

This is an artist’s impression of the gas giant planet Kepler-13Ab as compared in size to several of our solar system planets. The behemoth exoplanet is six times more massive than Jupiter. Kepler-13Ab is also one of the hottest known planets, with a dayside temperature of nearly 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It orbits very close to the star Kepler-13A, which lies at a distance of 1,730 light-years from Earth.

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