Strange Exoplanet: Scientists Discover Alien Planet With Ruby and Sapphire Clouds
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.
According to CNET, this is the first time scientists have detected weather on any planet outside our solar system, in the name of HAT-P-7b
The scientists note that although the clouds may be a spectacular sight to see, it would not be safe for humans because of the harsh and violent weather of the exoplanet.
Examining the planet using data gathered by NASA's Kepler space telescope from 2009-2013, the team observed that planet's brightest spot changed greatly over time. This is an indication of the violent weather patterns in the planet.
"These results show that strong winds circle the planet, transporting clouds from the night side to the dayside. The winds change speed dramatically, leading to huge cloud formations building up then dying away," said David Armstrong of the University of Warwick's Astrophysics Group in a statement.
The strong winds will most likely result to catastrophic events that would wipe out anything on its surface.
The report added that HAT-P-7b is tidally locked, meaning it always presents the same face to its parent star, just as the moon always shows just one side to Earth.
"We expect clouds to form on the cold night side of the planet, but they would evaporate quickly on the hot dayside," Armstrong added.
The researchers said that day heat could average to 2,860 Kelvin.
Earth Sky reported that HAT-P-7b, is located some 1,040 light-years away which is 40% larger than Jupiter and orbiting a star 50% more massive than our sun.
Details about the discovery were published in journal, Nature Astronomy.