The hunt for distant planets orbiting alien stars outside our own sun has yielded an overwhelming treasure chest full of Wonderland worlds – some exotic, some eerie, some weird, and all amazing. One of the most exotic, weird, and beautiful distant planets orbiting a distant star is Hat-P-7b. Discovered in 2008, this strange exoplanet embraces the mother star closely, HAT-P-7, in a red-hot orbit, and it is both more massive and larger than our own solar system’s colossus, the gas giant planet Jupiter – and 500 times more massive than Earth. In December 2016, scientists announced they had managed to detect the bizarre weather patterns of Hat-P-7b– making it the very first gas giant world outside of our own solar system to reveal the strange weather to the curious eyes of astronomers. Clouds on this Wonderland world can consist of the mineral corundum. Corundum forms sapphires and rubies, which fall like hard rain on the surface of this gigantic world that is 1040 light years away.
Corundum is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide and usually contains small amounts of iron, titanium, vanadium and chromium. Corundum is a rock-forming mineral that is naturally transparent. However, it can display different colors if it contains impurities. These transparent ones are real gemstones – rubies, if red, and padparadscha if pink-orange. All other shades are sapphires.
Like the wind of HAT-P-7b rushing and roaring at their fastest, they forcefully push large amounts of clouds through this truly strange, distant world. The clouds themselves would be visually amazing – great, amazing and fantastic. However, this Wonderland world could never house living things. This is due to its extremely violent weather systems and blazing hot temperatures, from which it fizzles under the relentless glowing glow of its parent star. One side of HAT-P-7b is constantly pointed towards its star because it is neatly locked and that side is constantly hotter – a lot, a lot of hotter – than the other, dark side. The day side temperature on HAT-P-7b is estimated to be about 2,730 Kelvins.
Signs of these violent and powerful shifting winds that wash through this distant world – 16 times the size of Earth – were noticed by a team of astronomers led by Dr. David Armstrong of the Astrophysics Group at the University of Warwick. The astronomers found that this massive gas world is affected by widespread changes in the strong winds sweeping across the planet – and these winds are likely to cause catastrophic storms. The University of Warwick is located in Coventry, England.
The distant solar system is within the field of view of NASAs Kepler Mission spacecraft, which more confidently confirmed its orbital properties and transit – and observed occultation and light curve characteristics, indicating a highly absorbing atmosphere with limited avection to the night side. When testing its own capabilities Hat-P-7b, Kepler proved to be sensitive enough to see earth-like planets living in the families of distant stars behind our own sun.
NASAs Kepler Space Telescope was launched on March 2, 2009 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The spacecraft’s original 3.5-year mission was to determine how often Earth-like planets occur in our own Milky Way galaxy – and it proved to be very successful. However, Kepler’s the original mission ended prematurely when the second of the four reaction wheels used to stabilize the spacecraft failed. The spacecraft needs a minimum of three working reaction wheels to aim as accurately as possible. This is because it must constantly stare as it hunts for distant, earth-like worlds that inhabit the families of distant stars beyond our sun.
However, there are rumors about it Kepler’s premature demise was premature. Like the Phoenix bird from Greek mythology, which got a second chance at life when it majestically rose from the ashes of its own pyre, Kepler was reborn – despite the crying outage that ended her original primary mission in May 2013 K2 Mission, the spacecraft has been ingeniously resurrected and performs very well in data collection during its “second life”.
Starting in 1988 and as of December 2016, there were 3,545 exoplanets confirmed in 2,660 planetary systems and 597 multiple planetary systems. Since 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope has seen several thousand candidates exoplanets, of which about 11% can be false positives. On average, there is at least one planet per star in our Milky Way, with a percentage that includes multiple planets. About 1 in 5 stars is orbited by a “planet-sized” planet in the parent star habitable zone. The habitable zone is that Goldilocks region around a star where the temperature is not too high, not too low, but exactly right to allow water to exist in its life-supporting liquid state. If 200 billion stars dance around in our Milky Way, it would mean that in our Milky Way galaxy alone there could be 11 billion potentially habitable worlds the size of Earth. As red dwarf stars Incorporated in this hypothesis, the number could reach as much as 40 billion potentially habitable exoplanets in our Milky Way. Red dwarf stars are both the smallest and the most common real stars.
History of a planetary treasure hunt
Astronomers announced this in August 2009 Hat-P-7b can have a retrograde orbit around its star, which is 50% heavier and twice the size of our own sun. This observation was based on the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect, which is a spectroscopic phenomenon observed when a secondary star of a binary star is eclipsed or a exoplanet is observed over the eye-catching face of its mother star. As the main star rotates on its axis, one quadrant of the photosphere seems to travel to the observer, while the other visible quadrant appears to travel away. The announcement of Hat-P-7b’s the retrograde orbit came just a day after the announcement of the very first exoplanet discovered to have such a job too–WASP-17b.
In January 2010, astronomers announced that ellipsoid light variations were detected HAT-P-7b, the first detection ever of such a phenomenon. This method analyzes the brightness variations that result from the rotation of a star, as its orbit planet neatly distorts the shape. On July 4, 2011 HAT-P-7b became the Hubble Space Telescopes (HSTs) one millionth scientific observation.
HAT-P-7b– A-Gonna Fall from A Hard Rain
The discovery of HAT-P-7b’s Weird weather was created by a team of astronomers from the University of Warwick in the UK, Queens University Belfast, Dublin City University and University College London, when they watched the light reflected from the atmosphere and discovered changes in it. Their observations showed that the brightest point on the planet changes position. This shift is the result of an equatorial radius with dramatically changing wind speeds – which at their most powerful shift the clouds across the planet.
“With the help of NASA Kepler satellite we were able to study light reflected HAT-P-7b’s atmosphere, where I discovered that the atmosphere changed over time. HAT-P-7b is a planet that is neatly locked, with the same side always facing the star. We expect clouds to form on the cold night side of the planet, but they will evaporate quickly on the warm day side, “Dr. Armstrong explained in December 2016 Press release from the University of Warwick.
“These results show that strong winds circle the planet and transport clouds from the night side to the day side. The wind changes speed dramatically, leading to massive cloud formations that build up and then die. This is the first detection of weather on a gas giant. planet outside the solar system, ”I added.
Thanks to this groundbreaking research, astrophysicists can now explore how weather systems on other extraterrestrial planets, far beyond our own solar system, change over time.
The article describing this research is titled: Atmospheric variability of the Hot Jupiter HAT-P-7b, and it is published in the first issue of Natural astronomy (January 2017).