Scientists were very surprised to see traces of barium at high altitudes in the atmospheres of super-hot gas giants WASP-76b and WASP-121b. These are two exoplanets that revolve around stars outside the solar system. An unexpected discovery raises questions about what these exotic atmospheres might look like.
According to the authors of the study, the presence of such a heavy element in the upper atmosphere is mysterious and illogical.
WASP-76b and WASP-121 b are unusual exoplanets. Both are known as super-hot dippers because they are comparable to the solar system's gas giant but have extremely high surface temperatures. This is related to their close proximity to parent stars. It takes only one or two days for an exoplanet to turn around parent stars. This makes objects so exotic that, for example, it rains iron at WASP-76b.
Even so, astronomers were surprised to find on WASP-76b and WASP-121 b barium, which is 2.5 times heavier than iron, given the high gravity of planets, scientists expect heavy elements such as barium to quickly enter the lower atmosphere.