back to article Two hot Jupiters around two similar stars orbiting at similar distances look similar, right? WRONG

WASP-67 b and HAT-P-38 b are two far-flung exoplanets orbiting near-identical stars at similar distances. Their size and temperatures are also pretty close. So, naturally, astronomers thought that their atmospheres wouldn't be too far apart. They were wrong. "We don't see what we're expecting," said Giovanni Bruno, a …

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Boffin

over 1,000°F

Ugh. Fahrenheits.

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Re: over 1,000°F

If it's really that difficult to grasp the temperature scale just remember the conversion is really simple. Just subtract 32 then multiply by 5/9.

....Wait, maybe it's multiply by 5/9 then subtract.

Screw it, it doesn't matter that much. Since it's not near water's freezing point and the original temperature is vague just divide by two and you're close enough. 500°C is close enough to get and idea how hot the planet is.

Just don't try to send a probe using this conversion and you'll be fine.

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"But these clouds are probably quite different to the ones on boring old terra firma, which are full of lightweight, water-based elements. On these warm exoplanets, they are likely formed of heavy molecules such as sodium sulfide and potassium chloride."

It's hard to know where to start with this. Our clouds are full of mostly water. There is no such thing as a water-based element, unless by "element" we don't mean, er, an Element. Formally our clouds are a colloidal dispersion of water in air. Air is oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, plus traces of other stuff. I suppose sodium sulphide and potassium chloride are technically "heavier" but neither has a molecular mass greater than 100, unlike volatile stuff like octane, for instance. The "amazing" thing about finding them in vapor form is that their chemical bonds in the solid are so strong it takes a lot of heat energy to vaporize them. Nothing to do with weight per se.

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"And the sodium sulfide and potassium chloride precipitation is now getting heavy enough for the groundsmen to bring on the covers so there will be yet another short interruption in the days play" - some things never change where ever you are in the universe.

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"And the chlorides are really coming down now, it doesn't look like there'll be any more play today. I can see one fan still out on the stands though, he appears to only be wearing a string vest and shorts, ahh yes, he's from Newcastle"

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"Cruel mistress science throws astroboffins a curveball"

Science, a mistress! Nah. Science is a bloke usually lurking in his shed in a chunky knit pullover, with tiny splashes of chicken soup lost in a straggly beard, and a distant, pensive look in his eyes. You can sometimes find him down the pub having a swift half early doors, when his missus, Nature, has buggered off with her best pal, Art, for a night out on the town.

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Science is a bloke

"with tiny splashes of chicken soup lost in a straggly beard, and a distant, pensive look in his eyes"

That will be a fifteen century Moskovite pope then.

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Coat

Re: "Cruel mistress science throws astroboffins a curveball"

A cruel mistress throwing a curveball may also be the most jumbled up metaphor that El Reg subheaders have brought us for some time.

But then again, I suppose they are trying to create a pitcher in words.

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Boffin

Just to posit a theory...

It says the two exoplanets did not develop where they are now, but further out. My guess would be that they developed in different regions of their respective Solar Systems, and hence have different make ups. That they are currently in the same Location is purely coincidental...

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Re: Just to posit a theory...

You dont know the construction of the 'disk' the system started from. If just two stars went supernova shedding their elements across largely empty space the options available for how the two cloud fronts hit and coalesce to form the 'disk' are pretty numerous. When and how quickly the star starts burning and blows the small things away from the forming jovian sized planet opens up a whole new bag of possibilities.

When we have a better view of what other planets there are in these systems then we can start to guess whether they danced around each other.

Every planetary system found these days seems to kick another sigma out a noticeable amount.

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Re: Just to posit a theory...

I don't get the theory that says gas giants always form further out. Seems like there's a lot of these systems out there and they keep throwing curve balls like this. Interesting times to be a planetary scientist.

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Not really surprising

I can't really see any anomaly here.

The two systems concerned, WASP-67 & HAT-P-38, are in entirely different areas of the sky and will have developed from different progenitor molecular clouds/nova remnants. WASP-67 is a type K0V star whereas HAT-P-38 is a type G. WASP-67b is 0.420 Jupiter masses and is 1.4 Jupiter radii in size, HAT-P-38b is 0.267 Jupiter masses and 0.825 Jupiter radii in size.

It seems to me that the only similarities between them are their orbits: WASP-67b has a Semi-major axis of 0.0517 AU, with an orbital eccentricity of 0.00 and HAT-P-38b has a Semi-major axis of 0.0523 AU, with with an orbital eccentricity of 0.0670.

(All data from the Open Exoplanet Catalogue - http://www.openexoplanetcatalogue.com)

I'm not surprised that the two planets have different characteristics.

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Anonymous Coward

Need is a strong word

"We need to understand why we find this difference,"

Some people want to know, and I'm vaguely interested, but need is too strong a term.

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Re: Need is a strong word

Not when you're writing your grant application, it isn't.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely it is obvious!

In one planet it is summer (Blue skiies!) and on the other it is winter.

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