It might sound like something from science fiction, but NASA scientists have just found a blisteringly hot planet where it actually ‘snows’ suncream.
The Hubble telescope was scanning exoplanet Kepler-13Ab, located outside of our solar system, when they found the vicious storms of titanium dioxide – the active ingredient in sunscreen – raining down.
But sadly visitors wouldn’t be able to bottle it up to defend themselves against the 5000-degree daytime temperatures on Kepler 13-Ab, because it only falls on the side of the planet permanently kept in darkness away from the parent star. Typical.
The team of astronomers at Penn State didn’t go looking for the titanium dioxide but were studying Kepler-13Ab as it is one of the hottest known exoplanets and so is able to provide insight into the complexity of weather and atmospheric conditions.
Jason Wright, study co-author, explained why it is so important to understand these exoplanet conditions, saying: “Understanding what sets the climates of other worlds has been one of the big puzzles of the last decade, seeing this cold-trap process in action provides us with a long-sought and important piece of that puzzle.”