Iron drops rain down over gas gi­ant

Science Illustrated - - SPACE | PLANETS -

Drops of molten iron rain heav­ily down though the at­mos­phere of the Jupiter-like OGLE-TR-56b ex­o­planet, ac­cord­ing to as­tronomers. The gas gi­ant's at­mos­phere con­tains iron atoms. As the at­mo­spheric tem­per­a­tures reach ap­prox­i­mately 1,700°C, the iron can form clouds, which could in prin­ci­ple re­sult in pre­cip­i­ta­tion in the shape of iron drops. The planet was dis­cov­ered in 2002 and con­firmed in 2003. Mea­sure­ments showed that OGLETR-56b only takes 29 hours to

or­bit its star, so one year cor­re­sponds to only 29 hours, which is very brief.

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