For the first time, astronomers from the Universities of Geneva and Bern, have succeed to measure the temperature of the atmosphere of exoplanet HD 189733b with impressive precision, by crossing two approaches.
The first approach is by using the HARPS spectrometer and the second is come from observations made over sodium spectral lines. From these two approaches, scientist were able to conclude that the exoplanet HD 189733b is showing a hellish weather: ferocious wind speeds more than 1,000 kilometers per hour and blazing heat ~ temperature of 1,650 degrees Celsius. With such temperature and these extreme winds the atmosphere of this exoplanet is truly turbulent.
These results open up perspectives to approach the study of exoplanet atmospheres.
said scientist from the Planets National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) and universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Bern.
Sodium is a clearly recognizable signal found in the atmosphere of most exoplanets that possess one. The intensity of these signals varies at the time when the planet in question passes in front of its host star, an event called transit. This effect was predicted back in the year 2000 and was later supported with the observations from Hubble Space Telescope. But, it had only been able to be detected since then from Earth, with giant telescopes.
To make these findings, astronomers from the University of Geneva have had the idea of using the observations already made by the HARPS spectrometer to detect variations in sodium lines. Careful, the data collected over many years revealed subtle variations in the sodium lines during several transits of HD 189733b. Outstandingly, the analysis of data from HARPS on Earth proved to be just as sensitive as the Hubble Space Telescope, but much better in terms of spectral resolution.
This study open up the path of exploring exoplanet atmospheres with tools that are more accessible than giant or space telescopes.
the researchers added. The study was published in the Astronomy & Astrophysics Journal.