Exploring a Hot Jupiter’s Atmosphere

Tidally locked hot Jupiter WASP-121b has an atmosphere so hot on one side that it breaks down water molecules and rains rubies and sapphires.

Beth Johnson
3 min readMar 9, 2022

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IMAGE: Artist’s impression of the exoplanet WASP-121 b. It belongs to the class of hot Jupiters. Due to its proximity to the central star, the planet’s rotation is tidally locked to its orbit around it. As a result, one of WASP-121 b’s hemispheres always faces the star, heating it to temperatures of up to 3000 degrees Celsius.The night side is always oriented towards cold space, which is why it is 1500 degrees Celsius cooler there. CREDIT: Patricia Klein and MPIA

Once you find a planet, you want to learn everything you can about it, and of late, that task has expanded beyond calculating mass and density and turned to…

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Beth Johnson

Planetary scientist, podcast host. Communication specialist for SETI Institute and Planetary Science Institute. Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/planetarypan