DEC 23, 2016 11:45 AM PST
Predicting the Weather on Exoplanets
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Sometimes our very own meteorologists aren't good at predicting the weather right here on our own planet, but some astronomers are convinced that they can predict the weather conditions on exoplanets, or planets from other star systems.

By carefully observing these exoplanets, we can determine their qualities and make assumptions about what the planet is like. Although hot-Jupiter-like exoplanets are unlikely to have weather conditions like the Earth, we can still make predictions about the weather and climate there.

We can compare a lot of them to Jupiter in our very own solar system, but because they're often so much closer to their host star, they're typically a lot hotter.

More importantly, when space observation equipment like Kepler sees the exoplanet making a transit across its host star, it can collect data about the exoplanet's heated atmosphere, which gives us an idea of the chemicals and gasses that make it up.

The light that reflects back gives us an idea of the clouds in the atmosphere, their temperature, and what they're made up of. In some cases, they might rain different kinds of chemicals than we're used to here on Earth, so you shouldn't expect water, however condensation in the sky probably still takes place, just in a different way.

Although we can predict weather on other exoplanets, they're still millions of light years away, which means we can't observe them directly. Instead, researchers rely on computer models to tell them what could be happening on those exoplanets.

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