For years, scientists believed the stratosphere to be an atmospheric feature unique to planets within our own solar system. But in an recent journal entry, scientists reveal this isn’t exactly the case.
In case you don’t know, the stratosphere is a layer of the atmosphere (including our own on earth!) that is distinguished by two main characteristics. First, is temperature inversion. Simply put, the higher up you go in the stratosphere, the hotter it gets. This is opposed to layers like the troposphere, in which temperatures decrease with altitude (which is partially why your plane rides are a bit chilly). Secondly, the stratosphere contains particles which help absorb the sun’s rays. On Earth, we have the Ozone. On other planets, there are molecules called hydrocarbons. Until now, it was believed that exoplanets were just too hot to facilitate the presence of such son absorbing molecules. But WASP-33b, the exoplanet in question, apparently does have an atmospheric layer characterized by a temperature inversion– and scientists believe it to be caused by titanium oxide. In other words, it looks like there very well may be stratospheres in other star systems.
Read the NASA Press Release