There’s no shortage of strange phenomena in deep space.
Soon, the James Webb Space Telescope will give us an unprecedented look at the universe’s most elusive mysteries.
Many research proposals focus on peculiar exoplanets, from bizarre hot Neptunes to planets so puffy that physically they shouldn’t be able to exist.
The exoplanet HD 189733 b might look a bit like Earth from a distance, but it's actually a blazing ball of gas where the wind whips at seven times the speed of sound.
Researchers are interested in the mineral composition of HD 189733 b’s clouds, which will help unlock the mysteries of how gas giants form.
Illustration by Joy Pollard, Gemini Observatory/AURA
One team will use the Webb Telescope to peek into WISE 0855’s surprisingly clear atmosphere, and look for potential ice clouds lurking there.
Also known as super-puffs, these planets are a few times larger than Earth but have extremely low densities.
The extremely lopsided orbit of exoplanet HD 80606 b causes its host star to singe the Jupiter-like world whenever it comes in close contact.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/G. Laughlin et al.
It has a trajectory like no planet in our Solar System.
Researchers want to determine the presence or absence of an atmosphere on this planet to better understand what causes rocky planets to be able to host life — or not.
Sub-Neptunes are a class of planets that have similar radii to Neptune, but orbit closer to their stars than Mercury does to the Sun.
They’re also the most common type of planet found in galaxy, and researchers don’t really know what they’re made of.
Normally, the explosive process that forms white dwarfs incinerates or absorbs nearby planets. But a white dwarf called WD1856+534 has a world seven times its size orbiting around it.
Researchers are unsure how this planet, WD 1856 b, is able to exist.
It should have died when its home star left the life of a normal star.
But a closer look with the Webb Telescope could help uncover this secret soon enough.