Blue planet possibly rains liquid glass
Friday, July 12, 2013, 9:55 -
Astronomers determined some interesting characteristics of a planet far, far away.
They've found a deep azure blue planet orbiting a star 63 light years away.
It's the first time they've been able to determine the actual colour of the planet outside our solar system.
Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph measured changes in the colour of light from the planet before, during and after a pass behind its star. There was a small drop in light and a slight change in the colour of the light.
"We saw the light becoming less bright in the blue, but not in the green or red. Light was missing in the blue, but not in the red when it was hidden," said research team member Frederic Pont of the University of Exeter in South West England. "This means that the object that disappeared was blue."
The planet, known as HD 189733b, is a gas giant with a daytime temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
And here's where things get really interesting.
They say on this planet, it may rain liquid glass, sideways amid 72,000 km/h winds.
The cobalt blue color comes not from the reflection of a tropical ocean as it does on Earth, but rather a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing high clouds laced with silicate particles, NASA says.
"HD 189733b is among a bizarre class of planets called hot Jupiters, which orbit precariously close to their parent stars. The observations yield new insights into the chemical composition and cloud structure of the entire class," NASA adds.
NASA and the European Space Agency announced the news Thursday.
With files from CNN