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WASP-96b is the first-ever cloudless planet discovered, with its uniquely clear signature. The astronomer Nikolay Nikolov from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, discovered WASP-96b, using the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. Being the first of its kind, the exoplanet is now considered “a benchmark for characterization,” Nikolov said in the statement.
“A planet’s atmospheric makeup influences the light that scientists can measure as it passes by its host star. This creates a spectrum, which is like a unique fingerprint. Typically, clouds obscure the light released by a planet and affect the spectrum that researchers can study from Earth, according to a statement released on May 7 by the University of Exeter. [The Biggest Mysteries of Saturn]” noticed space.com.
Besides having an extraordinarily cloudless, sodium-rich atmosphere, WASP-96b is extremely hot, at 1,300 kelvins (1,900 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1,000 degrees Celsius), and extremely large: 20 percent larger than Jupiter. The planet’s mass is similar to Saturn’s, so researchers classify this exoplanet as a “hot Saturn.”
Owing to WASP-96b’s cloudless skies, studying the exoplanet will provide researchers with a “unique opportunity to determine the abundances of other molecules, such as water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, with future observations,” Ernst de Mooij,a researcher at Dublin City University and a co-author of a new study describing the findings, said in the statement.
So, according to researchers by identifying the signatures of other molecules using telescopes like Hubble and the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, scientists may gain a better understanding of planets both within and outside our solar system.
“We’ve been looking at more than twenty exoplanet transit spectra,” Dr. Nikolov said. “WASP-96b is the only exoplanet that appears to be entirely cloud-free and shows such a clear sodium signature, making the planet a benchmark for characterization.” “Until now, sodium was revealed either as a very narrow peak or found to be completely missing,” he added.