Metal clouds and liquid gems spotted in the atmosphere of hot Jupiter WASP-121 b

An artist’s impression of the hot Jupiter exoplanet WASP-121 b. In a new study, researchers explored the exoplanet’s nightside.  (Image credit: Patricia Klein and MPIA)

Imagine a world where the clouds are made of metal and liquid rubies and sapphires rain down from the sky. A new study shows that, on the hot Jupiter exoplanet WASP-121 b, this could be the reality.

In 2015, scientists discovered WASP-121 b, a gas giant exoplanet 880 light-years from Earth. The alien world is what is known as a “hot Jupiter,” a class of gas giants that have physical similarities to Jupiter but orbit their stars much closer (hence, their “hot” nature). Since its discovery, researchers have further explored this world and its strange atmosphere.