NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has found a blistering hot planet outside our solar system where it “snows” sunscreen.
The problem is the sunscreen (titanium oxide, principal component of sunscreen) precipitation only happens on the planet’s permanent nighttime side of the exoplanet Kepler-13Ab, located 1,730 light-years from Earth.
Hubble astronomers suggest that powerful winds carry the titanium oxide gas around to the colder nighttime side, where it condenses into crystalline flakes, forms clouds, and precipitates as snow.
Kepler-13Ab’s strong surface gravity — six times greater than Jupiter’s — pulls the titanium oxide snow out of the upper atmosphere and traps it in the lower atmosphere.
“These observations of Kepler-13Ab are telling us how condensates and clouds form in the atmospheres of very hot Jupiters, and how gravity will affect the composition of an atmosphere”