The Sciences

Hot Jupiters are Too Hot for Water to Handle

New hot take explains why the exoplanets never have signs of water vapor.

By Bill AndrewsJan 1, 2019 12:00 PM
(Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/AIX-Marseille University)


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Exoplanets known as ultra-hot Jupiters (because of their extreme temperature and size) seem to lack water vapor. Astronomers didn’t know why until an August paper in Astronomy & Astrophysics showed that the worlds’ atmospheres are just too darn hot, tearing apart any water molecules shortly after they form. The finding further blurs the line between exoplanets and stars.

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