Meet WASP-178b, the Exoplanet Where the Clouds are Made of Vaporized Rock

Meet WASP-178b, the Exoplanet Where the Clouds are Made of Vaporized Rock

Perhaps we all have to admit that there’s a strange universe we live in. Astronomers have been frequently amazed by the outstanding conditions present on many exoplanets, and it happens once again in the case of the space object known as WASP-178b. 

Imagine a remote world so hot that the clouds are made of vaporized rock. Imagine a world that completes a full orbit around its host star in only three days. To make things even weirder, that planet is just about the same size as Jupiter, the biggest planet in our Solar System. Surprisingly, we’re not talking about a hypothetical planet. The planet in question really exists somewhere at 1,360 light-years away from Earth, 

Orbiting the WASP-178 star

Considering that the exoplanet in question orbits its host star extremely close, there’s no wonder why we’re talking about an “ultra-hot Jupiter,” as astronomers call it. Such a “close relationship” with the host star will always result in catastrophic conditions for the planet. 

David Sing is an astrophysicist from Johns Hopkins University, and he made some interesting statements, as NASA’s website quotes:

We still don’t have a good understanding of weather in different planetary environments,

When you look at Earth, all our weather predictions are still finely tuned to what we can measure. But when you go to a distant exoplanet, you have limited predictive powers because you haven’t built a general theory about how everything in an atmosphere goes together and responds to extreme conditions.

Jupiter is not only the biggest planet in our Solar System. The gas giant also protects our planet from many big asteroids and comets that hurtle through our Solar System. This happens due to Jupiter’s huge gravity, meaning that we can consider that its existence and position in the Solar System are not coincidences.

The new study was published in Nature.

Cristian Antonescu

Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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