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Giant Blue Alien Planet Rains Molten Glass; Larger Than Originally Thought; Close Stellar Neighbor Has Hostile Environment

By Staff Writer | September 15, 2013 07:06 PM EDT

Giant Blue Planet
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

A Giant blue alien planet appears blue because it rains molten glass. The giant blue planet, called HD 189733b, is a huge gas giant that orbits very close to its host star HD 189733. The “blue marble" alien planet is only 63 light-years from Earth, but our stellar neighbor is not hospitable. The blue color of the atmosphere is most likely, researchers say, to be caused by a harsh atmosphere that rains super-hot molten glass.

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According to scientists, the giant blue alien planet’s rain is due to the nearness to its sun. The gas giant alien planet HD189733b has daytime temperatures that climbe to about 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit.

The outer atmosphere of the planet is much larger than scientist had thought. Scientists are studying X-ray images of the planet.

Researchers say that the planet HD189733b is classified as a hot Jupiter alien planet. Even though such hot Jupiter planets have hostile environments, they are still worthy of study.

A study in the Astrophysical Journal found hot Jupiter alien planets are about the size of the planet Jupiter. They get hot because they rotate very close to their host stars. They orbit so close to their suns that they risk being consumed by the heat. Because of this they are called planetary daredevils. Like Mercury, one side of the planet is always faces the sun and is exposed to extremely high temperatures. The other side of the planets permanently face away from their sun.

Scientists can identify hot Jupiters from a distance because their disc obscures a large portion of the sun’s light as they pass in front of it. The planet HD189733b causes the star’s light to drop 3%.

Because of the proximity to the stars, they exert a gravitational pull that causes their parent stars to wobble.

Hot Jupiters are common in the universe. They differ from earth in that rocky planets orbit close to the sun in our galaxy while our gas giants are situated much farther out.

The latest observations challenge some theories of planetary formation. In a recent Science@NASA post, NASA scientists wrote "At first considered to be the 'chaff' researchers would have to wade through to get to the fainter Earth-like worlds, hot Jupiters are now attracting their own attention."

HD189733b was discovered in 2005. NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and ESA's XMM Newton watched the planet cross its star. They found that the drop in X-rays from the star that was three times more than what they saw in optical light, leading scientists to conclude that the planetary atmosphere is much larger than they previously believed. A new study estimated that the atmosphere of the blue alien plant is also bleeding at a rate of 220 million pounds to 1.3 billion pounds per second.

In a statement, Scott Wolk, a Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer wrote "The extended atmosphere of this planet makes it a bigger target for high-energy radiation from its star, so more evaporation occurs."

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