UK (Next Media) - A research team in the UK have determined the true colour of a planet orbiting another star for the first time using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.
The blue planet known as HD 189733b, discovered in 2005, is an extrasolar planet about 63 light years away from our solar system and is located in the constellation of Vulpecula. It is a gas giant with a daytime temperature of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also a hot Jupiter, a class of extrasolar gas giants that orbit very close to their parent stars. According to NASA, the planet is only 2.9 million miles from its parent star, so close that it is gravitationally locked, meaning one side of the planet always faces the star and the other side is always dark.
The Hubble space telescope picked up the change in the colour of the light from the planet before, during and after a pass behind its parent star. There was a change in the brightness in the blue part of the spectrum, while the signal remained constant at other colours, meaning the colour of the planet is blue. The planet’s blue tone is attributed to the drops of liquid glass that rain horizontally amid 7,000 kilometer-per-hour winds. The force of the gusts pushes atmospheric silicate particles, which scatter blue light.
SOURCES: BBC, NASA,