Scientists discover Jupiter-like exoplanet that smells like rotten eggs

Exoplanet HD 189733 b contains hydrogen sulfide, new research shows.

Scientists made an exciting — and tantalizing — announcement this week about a nearby exoplanet. They discovered that a celestial body resembling Jupiter smells like rotten eggs.

By analyzing data collected by the James Webb Space Telescope, scientists discovered that an exoplanet named HD 189733 b contains hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas released by decomposing organic material that has a strong, egg-like odor.

In addition to hydrogen sulfide, researchers also found carbon dioxide, oxygen, water and heavy metals in the atmosphere of the unique exoplanet, according to a study published Monday in Nature.

“Hydrogen sulfide is an important molecule that we didn’t know was there. We predicted it would be there, and we know it’s in Jupiter, but we hadn’t actually discovered it outside the solar system,” Guangwei Fu, an astrophysicist at Johns Hopkins who led the research, said in a press release.

Exoplanet HD 189733 b was first discovered in 2005 and is located about 65 light-years from Earth in the constellation Vulpecula, the study said.

Scientists dubbed the exoplanet, which is known for its extreme temperatures and “extremely bad weather,” “hot Jupiter” because temperatures there reach a “scorching 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit” and the exoplanet is notorious for extreme weather, including glass showers that blow sideways with winds of 5,000 mph, the study said.

“We’re not looking for life on this planet because it’s too hot, but finding hydrogen sulfide is a stepping stone to finding this molecule on other planets and gaining more insight into how different types of planets form,” Fu said.

Looking ahead, Fu said his research team will map sulfur in more exoplanets to analyze whether the presence of high concentrations of the chemical compound is related to their location in space.

“We want to know how these kinds of planets got there. Understanding their atmospheric composition can help us answer that question,” Fu said.

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