The international team of astronomers has detected titanium oxide in the atmosphere of an extra-solar planet, an Earth-like ozone-like heat absorber.
The results of the discovery by the international team of astronomers, including Iranian astrophysicist Mahmoudreza Oshagh of IA and the Institute of Astrophysics of the University of Göttingen in Germany, were published this week in the journal Nature.
The chemical compound was found in small quantities in the atmosphere of WASP-19b, a hot Jupiter, a planet with mass equivalent to that of Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, orbiting very close to its star, being extremely hot (the temperature of the exoplanet is around 2,000 degrees Celsius).
The detection of titanium oxide in the WASP-19b was done indirectly when this planet outside the solar system passed in front of its star and a part of the light of this was absorbed by the atmosphere of the planet.
“The presence of titanium oxide in the atmosphere of WASP-19b can have substantial effects on the structure and circulation of atmospheric temperature”, said astronomer Ryan MacDonald of the University of Cambridge, UK, quoted in a statement from the European Observatory for South, an astronomical organization of which Portugal is part and whose Very Large Telescope (VLT) was used in the observations of the planet.
In another statement, the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences also noted that when there is a hot Jupiter atmosphere, titanium oxide “works as a heat absorber”.
In large quantities, which have not been proven in the study, the substance prevents heat from entering or escaping from the atmosphere, causing the upper atmosphere to be hotter than the lower atmosphere, the opposite of normal.
Ozone thus plays a similar role in the Earth’s atmosphere, where it causes this ‘thermal inversion’ in the stratosphere (one of the layers of the Earth’s atmosphere), limiting the amount of ultraviolet solar radiation that reaches the surface and becomes a harmful pollutant in the troposphere (lowest layer of the atmosphere).