Exoplanet Storms Ruby and Sapphire Wind

In 2004 science revealed 55 Cancri e, an exoplanet (planet orbiting a star outside our solar system) whose mass was primarily diamonds. http://www.space.com/18011-super-earth-planet-diamond-world.html This week, analysis of data from NASA satellite Kepler tells of HAT-P-7b, a gas giant 40% larger than Jupiter whose blustery upper atmosphere storms with ruby and sapphire wind.

Tidally locked, the same side of HAT-P-7b always faces a behemoth sun,  completing an orbit every every 2.2 days with day side surface  temperatures exceeding 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Analysis of extreme temperature variation between day and night sides of HAT-P-7b led to publication of the first exoplanet weather report, a forecast that includes upper atmosphere winds of ruby and sapphire.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2115792-first-exoplanet-weather-report-shows-clouds-of-ruby-and-sapphire/

“These results show that strong winds circle the planet, transporting clouds from the night side to the day side,” he said. “The winds change speed dramatically, leading to huge cloud formations building up, then dying away.”

And those clouds are almost certainly unlike anything here on Earth, the researchers added: Modeling work suggests that HAT-P-7b’s clouds are composed at least partially of corundum, the mineral that forms sapphires and rubies.”

http://www.space.com/34992-giant-alien-planet-ruby-clouds-weather.html

Astronomers at University of Warwick in Coventry, England have detected evidence of the weather on a giant exoplanet outside our solar system. And not just any other weather; the scientists suspect that clouds on the exoplanet are made with corundum, a rock-forming mineral that forms sapphire and ruby.
(Photo : Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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2 thoughts on “Exoplanet Storms Ruby and Sapphire Wind

  1. I remember reading about this a little while ago. The interesting thing is that winds form at all. You’d expect a tidal locked planet to achieve stable equilibrium from an atmospheric standpoint. That’s what Brian Aldiss suggested in his 1962 novel Hothouse.

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