Hot Gas-Giant Exoplanet WASP-43 b (Temperature Maps)

 Hot Gas-Giant Exoplanet WASP-43 b (Temperature Maps)

This set of maps shows the temperature of the visible side of the hot gas-giant exoplanet WASP-43 b, as the planet orbits its star.

The temperatures were calculated based on more than 8,000 brightness measurements of 5- to 12-micron mid-infrared light detected from the star-planet system by MIRI (the Mid-Infrared Instrument) on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. In general, the hotter an object is, the more mid-infrared light it gives off.

Because WASP-43 b orbits so close to its star (about 1.3 million miles, or 0.014 astronomical units), it is tidally locked: One side faces the star at all times, receiving continuous radiation, while the other faces away from the star in permanent darkness. This results in a clear temperature difference between the dayside and nightside. The amount of infrared light detected from the planet is greatest when the hot dayside faces the telescope, just before and after it passes behind the star (a phenomenon known as a secondary eclipse). The planet appears much dimmer in infrared light when the cooler nightside faces the telescope, as it moves across the star (the transit).

The exact difference in temperature, however, also depends on factors such as wind speeds and cloud cover. Based on the MIRI observations, WASP-43 b has an average temperature of about 2,280°F (1,250°C) on the dayside and 1,115°F (600°C) on the nightside. This is consistent with strong winds that carry heat around from the dayside to the nightside, and the presence of nightside clouds that prevent heat energy from escaping to space.

The temperature maps were made by carefully analyzing the change in temperature as different parts of the planet rotate into and out of view. The research indicates that the hottest point on the planet is not the point that receives the most light from the star (the substellar point, where the star is straight above in the sky). Instead, it is shifted about 7 degrees eastward. (This is why the maps look slightly off-center.) This is a result of strong equatorial winds, which blow at speeds upwards of 5,000 miles per hour, moving the hot air horizontally before it can radiate energy back out to space.



NASA, ESA, CSA, Ralf Crawford (STScI)


Taylor Bell (BAERI), Joanna Barstow (The Open University), Michael Roman (University of Leicester)

About The Object
Object Name WASP-43 b
Object Description Hot Jupiter Exoplanet
R.A. Position 10:19:37.96
Dec. Position -09:48:23.20
Constellation Sextans
Distance 280 light-years (87 parsecs)
About The Data
Instrument MIRI
Exposure Dates November 30 – December 2, 2022
About The Object
Object Name A name or catalog number that astronomers use to identify an astronomical object.
Object Description The type of astronomical object.
R.A. Position Right ascension – analogous to longitude – is one component of an object's position.
Dec. Position Declination – analogous to latitude – is one component of an object's position.
Constellation One of 88 recognized regions of the celestial sphere in which the object appears.
Distance The physical distance from Earth to the astronomical object. Distances within our solar system are usually measured in Astronomical Units (AU). Distances between stars are usually measured in light-years. Interstellar distances can also be measured in parsecs.
Dimensions The physical size of the object or the apparent angle it subtends on the sky.
About The Data
Data Description
  • Proposal: A description of the observations, their scientific justification, and the links to the data available in the science archive.
  • Science Team: The astronomers who planned the observations and analyzed the data. "PI" refers to the Principal Investigator.
Instrument The science instrument used to produce the data.
Exposure Dates The date(s) that the telescope made its observations and the total exposure time.
Filters The camera filters that were used in the science observations.
About The Image
Image Credit The primary individuals and institutions responsible for the content.
Publication Date The date and time the release content became public.
Color Info A brief description of the methods used to convert telescope data into the color image being presented.
Orientation The rotation of the image on the sky with respect to the north pole of the celestial sphere.