July 17, 2013

HD 189733b — an exoplanet located about 63 light-years away — has now had its actual visible-light color deduced, thanks to new research done with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. If seen directly the exoplanet would appear as a ‘deep blue dot’ — looking a lot like the way that the Earth appears from space. That’s where the similarities end though — HD 189733b is an enormous gas-giant with day time temperatures that soar as high as 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, and winds that howl around the planet at speeds of up to 4500-miles-per-hour. It also seems likely — according to the researchers — that the planet rains molten glass.

The deep cobalt blue color of the planet isn’t the result of a world covered in water like it is on the Earth — HD 189733b is blue as the result of its hazy blow-torched atmosphere and also possibly as a result of high clouds laced with silicate particles. “The condensation temperature of silicates could form very small drops of glass that would scatter blue light more than red light.”

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