Tags: deep | blue | planet

Deep Blue Planet Shares Earth's Coloration, but Similarities Stop There

Thursday, 11 Jul 2013 06:58 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A deep-blue planet orbiting a star about 63 light years away does have some of the same coloration Earth has, but it’s not like our own piece of terra firma, astronomers say.

USA Today reports the Hubble space telescope has let astronomers take a look at the planet, which bears the somewhat pedantic name of HD 189733b, and they’ve found that it’s probably very hot.

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A report in Astrophysical Journal Letters found that the large planet orbits its star closely, about once every 2.2 days, USA Today said. Cloud temps are probably about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit with winds blowing about 4,350 miles per hour.

The cobalt blue color of HD 189733b is likely caused by glass moving sideways in the atmosphere, unlike Earth where the color comes from the sea, NASA said, according to the LA Times.

The planet could contain “high clouds laced with silicate particles,” NASA reported. The silicates condense in the high heat and the winds toss the particles around, which scatters the blue light, the LA Times said.

The Daily Mail reported that this is the first time the Hubble Telescope has been able to determine an alien planet’s color.

Determining color over distance is difficult, even without the Earth’s solar system, the newspaper reported.

HD 189733b is a kind of planet called a “hot Jupiter,” The Daily Mail said. There are many hot Jupiters throughout the universe, although there isn’t one in our solar system.

The Hubble Telescope was launched 23 years ago, according to the Baltimore Sun. In recent years, the telescope has captured amazing pictures of “galaxies colliding, comets soaring through space and bright nebulas expanding,” the Sun said, featuring otherworldly pictures on its site.

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