Hubble Observes Cyclone, Raging Storm on Alien Planet Outside Solar System

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By Umesh Sharma

Hubble Observes Cyclone, Raging Storm on Alien Planet Outside Solar System-Astronomers have recently made a groundbreaking discovery using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, unveiling massive cyclones and dynamic weather activity on the distant exoplanet WASP-121 b, located a staggering 880 light-years from Earth.

In the vast expanse of the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope has once again proven its worth, providing astronomers with a glimpse into the tumultuous atmosphere of WASP-121 b.

Hubble Observes Cyclone, Raging Storm on Alien Planet Outside Solar System

Hubble Observes Cyclone, Raging Storm on Alien Planet Outside Solar System


The Alien World: WASP-121 b

Similarity to Jupiter

Despite its similarity in size to Jupiter, WASP-121 b is far from being a cosmic twin. It boasts an atmosphere so hostile that it shatters any hopes of finding life as we know it.

Tidally locked with its star

WASP-121 b dances to the tune of its parent star, with one hemisphere perpetually basking in scorching temperatures of around 3,450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Extreme temperatures and a hostile atmosphere

This extreme environment sets the stage for a celestial drama, where the planet’s day and night sides engage in a constant battle of temperature extremes, giving rise to unparalleled weather phenomena.

Atmospheric Dynamics

Temperature contrast between day and night

The relentless stellar radiation creates a stark temperature contrast, triggering atmospheric dynamics that mimic the storms and weather patterns we witness on Earth.

Tumultuous weather patterns

Fierce storms and colossal cyclones become the norm on WASP-121 b, turning its atmosphere into a canvas of chaos and beauty.

Fierce storms and colossal cyclones

An international team of astronomers delved into the Hubble data from 2016, 2018, and 2019, revealing the ebb and flow of weather fronts and storms on this distant gas giant.

Astronomical Observations

Hubble data analysis from 2016, 2018, and 2019

The meticulous analysis of Hubble data uncovered significant changes in the planet’s atmosphere over time, providing a temporal dimension to the dynamic weather on WASP-121 b.

Weather patterns comparable to Earth, but on an extreme scale

The observations suggest that, despite the vast differences, the alien planet experiences weather phenomena akin to those on Earth, albeit magnified to an extreme scale.

Complex Atmospheric Dynamics

Offset between the hottest region and the area closest to the star

One of the most intriguing findings is the offset between the hottest region of the planet and the area closest to the star, hinting at intricate atmospheric dynamics yet to be fully understood.

Intriguing findings hinting at complex atmospheric processes

These findings raise questions about the underlying processes driving the atmospheric dynamics on WASP-121 b, challenging astronomers to unravel the mysteries of this alien world.

Insights from sophisticated computer models

Sophisticated computer models have played a crucial role in interpreting the variations in atmospheric conditions, providing a deeper understanding of the chemical makeup and temperature fluctuations on distant exoplanets.

Exoplanet Atmosphere Simulations

Accurate modeling of ultra-hot planets like WASP-121 b

Jack Skinner, a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology and co-leader of the study, highlights how the detailed simulations allow accurate modeling of the weather on ultra-hot planets like WASP-121 b.

Importance of understanding alien climate

These simulations not only deepen our understanding of distant exoplanets but also contribute to the broader field of planetary science, shedding light on the diversity of climates beyond our solar system.

Research Implications

Quentin Changeat’s emphasis on the research’s significance

Quentin Changeat, a European Space Agency Research Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute, underscores the importance of this research in unraveling the complexity of exoplanet atmospheres.

Exploring the complexity of exoplanet atmospheres

The study opens new avenues for exploring the intricacies of exoplanet atmospheres, offering valuable insights for future missions dedicated to the search for potentially habitable worlds.

Quest for potentially habitable worlds

Understanding the atmospheric dynamics of alien planets, even those inhospitable to life as we know it, contributes to the broader quest for potentially habitable worlds in the vast cosmic ocean.

Orbital Dynamics of WASP-121 b

Short orbital period of 1.27 days

The planet’s proximity to its star results in a mere 1.27-day orbital period, subjecting its permanent day side to relentless stellar radiation and leading to the expansion of its atmosphere.

Relentless stellar radiation on the permanent dayside

This perpetual exposure to stellar radiation shapes the planet’s atmosphere, creating a symphony of weather phenomena that Hubble’s observations capture in various phases, including transits and secondary eclipses.

Impact on the planet’s atmosphere and weather phenomena

The orbital dynamics of WASP-121 b provide a unique laboratory for studying the impact of stellar radiation on planetary atmospheres, offering valuable insights into the broader field of planetary science.

Comprehensive Observations by Hubble

Various phases of the planet’s orbit

Hubble’s keen eye has captured the planet in different stages of its orbit, allowing astronomers to piece together a comprehensive view of the atmospheric changes occurring on WASP-121 b.

Transits and secondary eclipses

These observations, including transits and secondary eclipses, offer a detailed look at the interplay between the exoplanet and its parent star, providing essential data for understanding the atmospheric dynamics.

Providing a holistic view of atmospheric changes

By combining multiple observations, astronomers can paint a holistic picture of the ever-changing atmosphere on WASP-121 b, contributing to our understanding of the diversity of planetary environments in the universe.


In conclusion, the Hubble Space Telescope has once again broadened our cosmic horizons, revealing a distant exoplanet, WASP-121 b, with weather phenomena that defy our preconceptions. As we delve deeper into the mysteries of alien atmospheres, each discovery brings us closer to unraveling the cosmic tapestry that extends far beyond our solar system.


What makes WASP-121 b unique?

WASP-121 b stands out due to its extreme atmospheric conditions, with massive cyclones and storms, offering a unique opportunity to study the dynamics of an alien world.

How does the extreme temperature impact weather patterns?

The scorching temperatures on the permanent day side create a stark temperature contrast, triggering tumultuous weather patterns, including fierce storms and colossal cyclones.

Why is Hubble crucial for studying distant exoplanets?

Hubble’s observational prowess allows astronomers to gather detailed data on distant exoplanets, providing crucial insights into their atmospheres, weather patterns, and orbital dynamics.

What role do computer models play in interpreting data?

Sophisticated computer models help interpret variations in atmospheric conditions, contributing to a deeper understanding of the chemical makeup and temperature fluctuations on exoplanets like WASP-121 b.

How might these discoveries influence our search for habitable worlds?

By unraveling the complexities of alien atmospheres, these discoveries contribute to our understanding of planetary diversity and guide the search for potentially habitable worlds beyond our solar system.

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