Phát hiện hành tinh khí độc đầy chết chóc

Phát hiện hành tinh khí độc đầy chết chóc

Một hành tinh mang tên WASP-18b vừa được các nhà khoa học phát hiện không có nước và xung quanh nó toàn là khí độc carbon monoxide.

Tạp chí Newsweek hôm 2-12 cho biết WASP-18b được phát hiện lần đầu tiên vào năm 2009 nhưng các báo cáo cụ thể về hành tinh này mới được công bố trên tạp chí The Astrophysical Journal Letters gần đây.

Theo dữ liệu thu được từ 2 kính viễn vọng Hubble và Spitzer, WASP-18b cách trái đất khoảng 325 năm ánh sáng.

Tác giả bản nghiên cứu Kyle Sheppard tại Trường ĐH Maryland (Mỹ), cho hay: “Thành phần của WASP-18b đã thách thức tất cả sự hiểu biết của con người. Chúng tôi chưa nhìn thấy một hành tinh nào ngoài trái đất – nơi mà khí carbon monoxide bao phủ gần như hoàn toàn tầng bình lưu”.

Phát hiện hành tinh khí độc đầy chết chóc

WASP-18b không có nước và xung quanh toàn là khí độc Ảnh: NEWSWEEK

Vì không có nước và xung quanh toàn là khí độc nên WASP-18b được mệnh danh là “hành tinh chết”, thuộc nhóm hành tinh “sao Mộc nóng”. Dù vậy, mức độ “chết chóc” của WASP-18b vẫn chưa vượt qua sao Mộc và sao Thổ.

Một số hành tinh có bầu khí quyển bao gồm các chất như titanium oxide và vanadium oxide. Đối với WASP-18b, khi các nhà khoa học phân tích ánh sáng mà họ nhìn thấy từ hành tinh này, họ nhận ra rằng nó không giống bất kỳ hành tinh nào từng được nghiên cứu cho đến nay.

Cụ thể, bầu khí quyển của WASP-18b chỉ chứa carbon dioxide và carbon monoxide, không có thêm chất nào khác.

Đồng tác giả bản nghiên cứu Nikku Madhusudhan, một nhà thiên văn học đến từ Trường ĐH Cambridge (Anh), phát biểu: “Sự kết hợp của các yếu tố này (hiếm khi được ghi nhận) mở ra cánh cửa hiểu biết mới về các quá trình lý – hoá trong bầu khí quyển ngoại hành tinh”.

Sắp tới, kính viễn vọng James Webb, dự kiến triển khai vào năm 2019, sẽ cung cấp thêm thông tin về WASP-18b cũng như các hành tinh khác.

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