Home > Astronomy, Exoplanets, General Astronomy > Hubble Spots Azure Blue Planet

Hubble Spots Azure Blue Planet


Artist’s impression Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser

Artist’s impression Credit: NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser

Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have, for the first time, determined the true colour of a planet orbiting another star. If seen up close this planet, known as HD 189733b, would be a deep azure blue, reminiscent of Earth’s colour as seen from space.

But that’s where the similarities end. This “deep blue dot” is a huge gas giant orbiting very close to its host star. The planet’s atmosphere is scorching with a temperature of over 1000 degrees Celsius, and it rains glass, sideways, in howling 7000 kilometre-per-hour winds.

At a distance of 63 light-years from us, this turbulent alien world is one of the nearest exoplanets to Earth that can be seen crossing the face of its star. It has been intensively studied by Hubble and other telescopes, and its atmosphere has been found to be dramatically changeable and exotic, with hazes and violent flares. Now, this planet is the subject of an important first: the first measurement of an exoplanet’s visible colour.

“This planet has been studied well in the past, both by ourselves and other teams,” says Frédéric Pont of the University of Exeter, UK, leader of the Hubble observing programme and an author of this new paper. “But measuring its colour is a real first — we can actually imagine what this planet would look like if we were able to look at it directly.”

Full Story: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1312/
Also: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/26/

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  1. July 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Interesting! :O

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