Exotic Blue-Marble Planet Raining Glass…Sideways!
Exo-Planet HD 189733b
We all know exotic alien planets can be very strange and bizarre, and turbulent blue marble exo-planet HD 189733b in the constellation of Vulpecula (The Fox) is no exception. In fact this alien world is a shining example of wild and exotic alienness. Scoring a first for humanity (and Europan Ice Wolves if you happen to be lucky enough to be part of the Pack) those clever NASA and ESA astronomer types with a smidgling of help from the Hubble Space Telescope have figured out the real planetary colours of an alien world circumnavigating another sun; something it does this in 2.2 Earth days tucking in very close and cosy with its parent star (sun).
Although at first glance, and this would have to be a very close up glance, this deep azure blue world, a giant gas planet known as a “hot Jupiter” bears a remarkable similarity to the heart-warming blue colour of Earth as seen when floating just above it in a cosmic deck chair whilst sipping an intrepid tequila in intergalactic space and admiring the view.
However, before you all go rushing off to dust off those aeon old telescopes lying forgotten in the attics and lofts of the home world, don’t! Not a good idea at all. Leave them right where they are…gathering very un-alien like Earth dust! HD 189733b is one of the closest exo-planet’s to Earth but it still lies 63 light years (630 trillion kilometres) from Earth and despite the fact that it shares pretty much the same size and mass stat’s as the Europa’s Ice wolves mother world, Jupiter, and still shines with that beautiful star-blue glow, and even has awesome sunsets, you won’t be able to see it!! No… not even a little blue dot so just take a nice deep breath of Earth air and calm down!
Colour is where the similarity between this exotic exo-planet and Earth end, swallowed hungrily by its dramatically unstable and exotic, atmosphere where it rains glass sideways (drops of molten magnesium silicate particles) in a furious frenzy of hurricane-force winds hitting a ferocious, hyperactive 7000 kilometres-per-hour (4,350 mile per hour). With a searing atmospheric temperature of 1000+ degrees Celsius (1,832 degrees Fahrenheit/1000 degrees C day side, 1,200 degrees F/650 degrees C night side – tidally locked so one side always faces its sun) atmospheric water exists in the form of steam, intermingled with vapour mists and fierce, blazing flares. 1,000 tons of its atmosphere is blown away with each passing second by its sun’s (star’s) intermittent solar surges.
And why is HD 189733b a deep and shiny azure blue colour? I hear you ask…albeit very quietly in a “don’t tell Wolfie we asked or we’ll be here all night” kind of tone. The sideways-raining glass (magnesium silicates) in its hyperactive atmosphere, scatter blue light very effectively to create this effect. Earth shines bold and blue due to the blue colours in the sunlight scattering in the atmosphere. Yes, the sun is still there to achieve this very important end even if you can’t mostly see it through all that lovely grey cloud cover. Cold, distant Neptune is also a blue planet, but for the entirely different reason that its air has copious levels of methane gracing it. This decidedly non-breathable Neptunian methane does a pretty good job of absorbing red light blotting it out altogether to human eyesight so that Earth dwellers beady little eyes will only see the blue light reflecting back to them and therefore Neptune is blue. This is a very therapeutic and relaxing colour for the average Earth dweller to cast their beady little eyeballs on according to the therapists.
Exo-planet temperature map data revealed by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope In 2007 allowed scientists the opportunity to chart the bizarre weather environment of the exotic, alien world of exo-planet HD 189733b. It was concluded that there are roughly 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius), differences between the daytime side and night-time side temperatures, and these are also responsible creating the wild, gale force winds buffeting this beautiful marble blue world amongst the stars.
NASA and ESA