Researchers working with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope discovered a new exoplanet orbiting two suns that's described as having sand-like clouds and a "scorching" hot atmosphere.
The planet, VHS 1256b, is located about 40 light-years from Earth and is about 19 times the size of Jupiter.
"VHS 1256b is about four times farther from its stars than Pluto is from our Sun, which makes it a great target for Webb," Brittany Miles of the University of Arizona, who is leading the research team, said in a statement. "That means the planet's light is not mixed with light from its stars."
NASA notes that this is the first planet outside our solar system where scientists have detected a dust storm. The planet's atmosphere is constantly moving and mixing, with the upper atmosphere reaching temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and hosting large clouds of silicate dust grains.
"The finer silicate grains in its atmosphere may be more like tiny particles in smoke. The larger grains might be more like very hot, very small sand particles," said Beth Biller of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who co-authored the study.
Miles added: "We've identified silicates, but better understanding which grain sizes and shapes match specific types of clouds is going to take a lot of additional work. This is not the final word on this planet — it is the beginning of a large-scale modeling effort to fit Webb's complex data."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.