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Portuguese astronomer discovers the heaviest element in the atmosphere of two hot exoplanets



Portuguese astronomer discovers the heaviest element in the atmosphere of two hot exoplanets

Astronomers have discovered two unexpected chemical elements in the atmospheres of two scorching exoplanets that are falling from the sky with liquid iron and gems.

Two exoplanets that orbit different stars outside of our solar system are superhot gas giants called WASP-76b and WASP-121b. Astronomers have used the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope to detect high-altitude barium in every exoplanet’s atmosphere.

Barium is the heaviest element ever found in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Science Magazine Astronomy and astrophysics published a study Thursday detailing the discovery.

With each revolution, WASP-76b and WASP-121b look more and more strange to scientists.

“The intriguing and controversial part is why do these planets have such a heavy element in their upper atmospheres?” said study author Thomas Azevedo Silva, a PhD student at the University’s Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences. .

“In a sense, it was an “accidental” discovery. We didn’t expect or look for barium in particular, and had to make sure it really came from the planet, as it’s never been seen on any exoplanet.”

The two exoplanets are similar in size to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system, but have incredibly hot surfaces that exceed 1,000 degrees Celsius.

The high temperatures of WASP-76b and WASP-121b are due to each planet being close to its parent star, orbiting in a day or two.

Originally discovered in 2015, WASP-121b is about 855 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet has a glowing atmosphere of water vapor, and the strong gravitational pull of the star it orbits warps it into the shape of a rugby ball.

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The planet is tidally locked, which means it is always on the same side facing the star. This is similar to how our Moon revolves around the Earth. On the dayside, temperatures start at 2227°C in the deepest layer of the atmosphere and reach 3227°C in the upper layer.

Scientists first discovered WASP-76b in 2016. It orbits a star in the constellation Pisces, 640 light years from Earth. This exoplanet is also held back by the tide, so on the dayside the temperature exceeds 2426 ºC.

The scorching nature of exoplanets has endowed them with unusual features and climates that feel straight out of science fiction. Scientists believe that liquid iron rains down from the sky on WASP-76b, while metal clouds and liquid gems form on WASP-121b.

The illustration shows an image of the night face of exoplanet WASP-76b, with liquid iron raining from the sky. M. Kornmesser/European Southern Observatory

The discovery of barium in the upper atmospheres of two planets surprised researchers. The element is 2.5 times heavier than iron.

“Given the high gravity of the planets, one would expect heavy parent elements such as barium to fall rapidly into the lower atmosphere,” said study co-author Olivier Demangeon, a research fellow at the Institute of Astrophysics and Sciences. Space of the University of Porto.

The detection of barium in the atmospheres of two exoplanets may suggest that superhot gas giants have even more unusual properties than we thought.

On Earth, barium appears in the night sky as a bright green color when fireworks explode. But scientists aren’t sure what the natural process is that causes this heavy element to appear so high in the atmosphere of these gas giants.

The research team used the ESPRESSO instrument or the Echelle spectrograph for rocky exoplanets and stable spectroscopic observations at the Very Large Telescope in Chile to study starlight as it passes through each planet’s atmosphere.

“Because they are gaseous and hot, their atmospheres are very stretched out,” Demangeon said. “Thus, they are easier to observe and study than smaller or colder planets.”

Future telescopes will also be able to see more detail in the atmospheres of exoplanets, including rocky Earth-like planets, to unravel the mysteries of unusual worlds scattered across the galaxy.

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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