Tags: glass | rain | planet | hot

Glass Rain: Alien Planet Is So Hot It Precipitates Molten Silicate

Image: Glass Rain: Alien Planet Is So Hot It Precipitates Molten Silicate

Wednesday, 04 Sep 2013 12:06 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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There's another world 63 light years away that looks like the Earth, but scientists said with temperatures that reach 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit the so-called "blue marble" planet is so hot it rains molten glass, reports Space.com.

The giant alien planet HD189733b is made up of gas and has an outer atmosphere that was larger than expected. Such planets are known by scientists as "hot Jupiters," large, roughly Jupiter-sized planets that become very hot by circling tight around their stars.

These "planetary daredevils" swing so close to their suns during orbit that they risk being consumed, according to Space.com. The website said such planets are "tidally locked to the star," preventing it from rotation and exposing one side of the planet constantly to its star, leaving the other half dark.

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The "blue marble" planet planet is more than 30 times closer to its star than Earth is to the sun and zips around its star once every 2.2 days, according to the Daily Mail.

NASA believes HD189733b is the closest hot Jupiter to Earth, which makes it a prime target for astronomers who want to cyber poke it to learn more about this type of exoplanet and the atmosphere around it, said the Daily Mail.

The Hubble Space Telescope determined in July that the dazzling blue color that makes the planet look like Earth was the result of the scattering of blue light by silicate particles in its atmosphere. Scientists determined it to be glass raining sideways with winds howling about 4,350 miles-per-hour.

The planet, which was discovered in 2005, has gained renewed attention because observers noticed a drop in X-rays from its star was three times more than that observed in optical light, said Space.com.

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That meant the planet's atmosphere was much larger than previously thought. Researchers discovered that HD189733b's atmosphere was leaving the planet at a rate of 220 million to 1.3 billion pounds a second.

"The extended atmosphere of this planet makes it a bigger target for high-energy radiation from its star, so more evaporation occurs," Scott Wolk, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement.

Related stories:

Deep Blue Planet Similar to Earth's Color Found 63 Light Years Away


Scientists Find Neighbor Star with 3 Planets in Life-friendly Orbits


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