Latest in Science

Image credit:

Scientists chart Mach 7 winds on a Jupiter-sized exoplanet

Steve Dent, @stevetdent
November 17, 2015
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

When scientists discovered a Jupiter-sized exoplanet in the Vulpecula constellation, they knew the weather there wasn't great. That's because HD 189733b orbits its star every 2.2 days at a speed of 341,000 mph and has an average surface temperature of around 2,240 F. A team from the University of Warwick in the UK has now made a rough weather map of the body -- the first ever for a planet outside our solar system -- and that news ain't great, either. Using the High Accuracy Radial velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument located in Chile, the team calculated that winds on HD 189733b rage at 5,400 mph, or seven times the speed of sound.

Those stiff breezes happen when the planet's atmosphere flows from the super-heated daylight side to the relatively cool, lower-pressure night side. The researchers examined the spectral frequency of light from the planet's host star as it shined through its atmosphere -- a technique the European Space Agency used (with Hubble) to determine that the planet was blue several years ago.

This time, however, they measured the Doppler shift on the leading and trailing edges of the planet's atmosphere as it transited its star from left to right (above). That allowed them to lock in a map of the east-flowing "jet stream" that moves around the exoplanet's equator. With a Mach 7 easterly driving rain that's literally made of glass shards, we get the picture that it's not exactly a prime vacation spot. However, the Warwick team hopes to use the same technique to study the weather on more hospitable exoplanets like Kepler 452B.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Tom Hanks: 'Absolute heartbreak' that 'Greyhound' won't debut in theaters

Tom Hanks: 'Absolute heartbreak' that 'Greyhound' won't debut in theaters

View
A number of first-party Nintendo Switch games are on sale at GameStop

A number of first-party Nintendo Switch games are on sale at GameStop

View
‘Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’ gameplay footage surfaces in leaked videos

‘Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’ gameplay footage surfaces in leaked videos

View
Supreme Court rules against law allowing debt-collection robocalls to cell phones

Supreme Court rules against law allowing debt-collection robocalls to cell phones

View
Chrome update may extend your laptop's battery life by up to 2 hours

Chrome update may extend your laptop's battery life by up to 2 hours

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr