The alien rain is not as alien as one might expect.
Showers in other worlds can definitely be exotic. On a huge Saturn Moon titanFor example, liquid hydrocarbons fall into the sky, flow through river channels, and fill large lakes and seas.
But these titanium drops of methane and sulfuric acid globules falling on Venus and the liquid helium that makes up Jupiter’s rain is actually broadly similar to the raindrops that fall here on Earth, new research suggests.
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“These raindrops with different compositions can have a fairly small range of stable sizes; they are all fundamentally limited to roughly the same maximum size, ”says lead author Caitlin Loftus, a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Harvard University, said in a statement…
Loftus and co-author Robin Wordsworth, associate professor of environmental science and engineering at Harvard, have modeled how rain passes through the atmospheres of planets and moons of varying sizes, temperatures, and compositions.
The researchers found that the maximum droplet size did not differ much from world to world. For example, Titan’s largest raindrops are less than three times larger than the largest raindrops here on Earth – about 1.2 inches (3.0 cm) wide versus about 0.44 inches (1.1 cm).
In addition, Loftus and Wordsworth calculated that on rocky planets, only cloud droplets in a narrow range of sizes could end up splashing onto the ground. These cloud droplets must have a radius of about 0.1 millimeters to a few millimeters, no matter what they are made of, or they won’t make it to the surface. (There are 10 millimeters in a centimeter, which is approximately 2.54 inches).
AT new research, which was published online last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, May Help Researchers Model Climate Cycles exoplanets and the worlds are much closer to home, team members said.
“The insight we get by thinking about raindrops and clouds in different environments is the key to understanding the habitability of exoplanets,” said Wordsworth. said in another statement… “In the long term, they can also help us better understand the climate of the Earth itself.”
Mike Wall is the author of “There“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the quest for alien life. Follow it on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.