Hubble finds deep blue planet that rains glass

Hubble finds deep blue planet that rains glass

Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon

An artist's view of Extrasolar Planet HD 18973bb.

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on July 11, 2013 at 9:17 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 11 at 9:19 AM

Astronomers have found a deep blue planet 63 million light years away that may rain glass – sideways.

NASA says planet HD 189733b is one of the closest exoplanets that can be seen crossing the face of its star. Here’s how they figured out the color:

Hubble's Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph measured changes in the color 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 color 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.”

NASA says the planet would look similar from Earth – a deep blue dot – if you saw it from space. But don’t plan a summer vacation there.

The deep blue color comes from a “hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing high clouds laced with silicate particles. “ Those particles, condensing in the 2,000 degree Fahrenheit daytime temperatures, could form small drops of glass. Add the likely 4,500 mph winds and you’re in for a bad day.

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