JWST will seek clouds of vaporized gems on exoplanets

Astronomers will be hoping for cloudy skies as the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) turns its attention to exoplanetary atmospheres laden with vaporized rock and crystals such as corundum and perovskite, which form gems on Earth.

Hot Jupiters, which are gas giants that orbit extremely close to their stars, grow so hot that rocky elements, minerals and metals can exist as vapor in their atmospheres, scorched by temperatures as great as 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees Celsius).

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