Astronomers have found another strange planet it could expand our understanding of the cosmos. Gizmodo reports that a team from Harvard and Smithsonian’s Center for Astrophysics Point a gas giant 575 light-years away, WASP-62b, which is not only in an orbit extremely close to 4.5 days (making it a “hot Jupiter”), but which has no clouds. This is only the second time that a researcher has found a cloudless exoplanet, and it is believed to be rare overall – less than 7% of exoplanets.
Scientists first detected WASP-62b in 2012, but only recently were they able to study its atmosphere. Study leader Munazza Alam used spectroscopic observation of the The Hubble Space Telescope to discover the strong presence of sodium, an element that would be obscured if there were clouds in the planet’s atmosphere. Astronomers usually only get small clues that sodium was present, so this was “smoking evidence” of a cloudless planet, according to Alam.