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Exoplanet HD 189733b, Outside Earth's Solar System, Packs Winds of 5,400 MPH

Image: Exoplanet HD 189733b, Outside Earth's Solar System, Packs Winds of 5,400 MPH
(NASA)

By    |   Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015 08:23 AM

Exoplanet HD 189733b, a celestial body located outside of Earth's solar system, boasts wind speeds of up to 5,400 miles per hour, researchers have discovered after creating a weather map for the planet.

That's 20 times faster than any wind speed recorded on Earth.

"This is the first ever weather map from outside of our solar system," Tom Louden, who led the research along with a team from the University of Warwick, said in a statement. "Whilst we have previously known of wind on exoplanets, we have never before been able to directly measure and map a weather system."

Data collected from the exoplanet was detailed by the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher in La Silla, Chile, and detailed about in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, according to the Warwick statement.

The Warwick team was able to measure the velocities on two sides of HD189733b, which is located about 63 lightyears from the constellation Vulpecula. That's how they discovered the powerful winds blowing from the planet's dayside to night side, topping out at 5,400 mph.

"HD 189733b's velocity was measured using high-resolution spectroscopy of the sodium absorption featured in its atmosphere. As parts of HD 189733b's atmosphere move towards or away from the Earth, the Doppler effect changes the wavelength of this feature, which allows the velocity to be measured," Louden said of the technology used.

HD 189733b, often called "hot Jupiter" because of its size and similarities to the largest planet in Earth's solar system, is 30 times closer to its star than Earth is from the sun, according to NASA.

Scientists hope the technology used to measure the weather on HD 189733b could be expanded to study other Earth-like planets.

"We are tremendously excited to have found a way to map weather systems on distant planets," Warwick researcher Peter Wheatley said in the university's statement. "As we develop the technique further we will be able to study wind flows in increasing detail and make weather maps of smaller planets. Ultimately this technique will allow us to image the weather systems on Earth-like planets."

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Exoplanet HD 189733b, a celestial body located outside of Earth's solar system, boasts wind speeds of up to 5,400 miles per hour, researchers have discovered after creating a weather map for the planet.
exoplanet hd 189733b, high, winds, weather, map
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2015-23-17
Tuesday, 17 Nov 2015 08:23 AM
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