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Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Like Earth’s seas, the icy moon’s subsurface ocean, Europa, contains sodium chloride. Credit: Shutterstock

5. One of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, has been said to have a saltwater ocean.

Researchers have identified that sodium chloride, the stuff in table salt, exists on Europa’s surface. Europa’s surface is covered in a 62-mile saltwater ocean enclosed in a layer of ice. Since the exterior is essentially formed with frozen seawater, the discovery suggests that Europa’s hidden sea is drenched in table salt. That is an essential piece in understanding the possibilities for life in the alien world. To analyze Europa’s composition, astronomers study the light emanating from its surface, splitting into a rainbow-like spectrum. However, as you already know, ordinary table salt is white and gives off a featureless spectrum. For years, astronomers have also argued that another type of salt, magnesium sulfate, was present on Europa’s surface. Europa’s seas could ultimately prove to be too salty for life as we know it to exist there.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photo Credit: Whitelion61/Shutterstock

A more equitable mixture of water and salt could allow life to thrive there, especially if the ocean is as active as our own. The water gets pulled into the seafloor around the hydrothermal vents. Then, it is jettisoned back out from the vents themselves on Earth. In the process, magnesium is captured within the rocks, whereas sodium and chlorine escape. Europa’s table-salt surface could suggest that the moon’s seawater is cycled similarly and even point towards hydrothermal vents. If this is true and an accurate representation of the ocean’s composition, then Europa’s ocean would be more similar to what we see on Earth. However, scientists could not quite say what the quantities of salt are beneath the ice.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
The planet Draugr, also known as part of PSR B1257+12, orbits a pulsar. Shutterstock

4. Auroras from neutron stars are created on planets, including Draugr.

PSR 1257+12 was first discovered in 1992. It is a pulsar that is located 2,300 lightyears away from the sun. The pulsar contains a planetary system with three known extrasolar planets. The planet Draugr gets its name from a monstrous undead creature from mythology. It is one of three small, rocky planets. When a massive star explodes, its core forms a neutron star, an Earth-sized object with ridiculously high density. However, scientists don’t expect planets around giant stars to sustain stellar explosions. Nor do they expect them to keep orbiting the newly formed neutron stars. However, three worlds are doing just that around the neutron star, PSR B1257+12.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photo Credit: Space

The neutron stars emit a lot of harmful radiation, including x-rays and gamma rays severely damaging to life on Earth. The three planets going around the neutron star, Ergo, are consistently bathed in radiation. The planets are considered to be as lifeless as planets can be. Planets that are around neutron stars might be a pretty sight from a distance. The neutron star’s radiation can create dazzling auroras on the worlds, similar to Earth and Jupiter. The discovery of planets around a pulsar was unexpected, considering that a pulsar could host planetary companions.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Venus is the second planet from the sun and is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system, although it is not the closest planet to the sun.

The interior of Venus is made of a metallic iron core that is roughly 2,400 miles wide. Its molten rocky mantle is approximately 1,200 miles thick. Although Venus is not the planet closest to the sun, its dense atmosphere traps heat in a runaway version of the greenhouse effect that warms Earth. As a result, temperatures on Venus reach 880 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than hot enough to melt lead. Any spacecraft that has landed on the planet only lasted a few hours before being destroyed. Venus’s atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide with clouds of sulfuric acid and only trace amounts of water.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photo Credit: Jurik Peter/Shutterstock

The surface of Venus is arid. Ultraviolet rays from the sun evaporate water quickly, keeping the planet in a prolonged molten state. There is no liquid water on its surface today because the scorching heat created by its ozone-filled atmosphere would cause the water just to boil away. Venus is brighter than any other planet or even any star in the night sky because of its highly reflective clouds and closeness to our planet. However, Venus takes 243 Earth days to rotate on its axis, which is the slowest of any major planets. Unusual stripes in the upper clouds of Venus are referred to as ultraviolet absorbers because they strongly absorb light in the blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. They are soaking up a tremendous amount of energy. Roughly two-thirds of Venus’s surface is covered by flat, smooth plains marred by thousands of volcanoes.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
You might be shocked to learn that vast amounts of water ice have been spotted on Mars. Credit: Shutterstock

2. Scientists have found a layered mix of ice and sand that represent the last traces of long-lost polar ice caps on Mars.

Remnants of ancient ice sheets have been found buried a mile beneath Mars’ North Pole. The team found layers of sand and ice that were as much as 90 percent water in some places. If melted, the newly discovered ice would be equal to a global layer of water around Mars that is at least five feet deep, which could be one of the largest water reservoirs on the planet. The layers of ice is a record of past climate on Mars in much the same way that tree rings are a record of past climate on Earth. They suspect the layers formed when ice accumulated at the poles during past ice ages on Mars.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photo Credit: Business Insider

Each time the planet warmed, a remnant of the ice caps became covered by sand, which protected the ice from solar radiation and prevented it from dissipating into the atmosphere. Shockingly, the total volume of water locked up in these buried polar deposits is roughly the same as all the water known to exist in glaciers and buried ice layers at lower latitudes on Mars. Studying this unique weather pattern and record of past polar glaciation could help determine whether Mars was ever habitable. Understanding how much water was available globally versus what is trapped in the poles is vital if you’re going to have liquid water on Mars. There can be all the right conditions for life, but if most of the water is locked up at the poles, it becomes challenging to have suitable amounts of liquid near the equator.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photos of Saturn have depicted a swirling combination of green, blue, and purple clouds. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Saturn has a unique weather pattern of psychedelic clouds that are driven by internal heating.

Saturn rotates extremely fast but takes a little over 29 years to make one revolution around the sun. It is hard to determine the number of moons revolving around Saturn because it is difficult to distinguish between tiny moons and the numerous ice chunks composing Saturn’s smaller ringlets. As one of the four gas giants, Saturn’s atmosphere is similar to that of Jupiter’s. The atmosphere is mostly composed of hydrogen with lesser amounts of helium and even smaller methane and ammonia quantities.

Extreme Weather Phenomena on Other Planets 
Photo Credit: Pbs

Discovered by Voyage in 1981, the cloud pattern at Saturn’s north pole continues to amaze scientists. The lower-altitude hexagon may influence what happens above. Saturn’s cloud levels host the majority of the planet’s weather, including the pre-existing north polar hexagon. Scientists have identified that the points of the hexagon rotate around its center at almost the same rate Saturn rotates on its axis. Besides, a jet stream air current flows eastward at up to 220 miles per hour. Roughly seven years ago, an image of the storm was taken to demonstrate its unusual composition. Nothing like the hexagon has been seen in any other world. It is about 20,000 miles wide and approximately 60 miles down into Saturn’s atmosphere.

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