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Space Science

The Blistering Hot Exoplanet Where It Snows 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the blame-the-space-alien-groundhogs dept.
cylonlover writes "Today's weather on HD 189733b: It will be hazy with high wispy clouds. The wind will be steady from the east at speeds approaching 6,000 miles per hour (9,656 km/h). Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800C (1,472F), while the equatorial hot spot at 30 degrees longitude is expected to top 900C (1,652F). But, there is a high chance of silicate snow showers, with accumulations expected except in the vicinity of the hot spot. Just how much can astronomical observations tell us about exoplanets — those worlds orbiting other stars in our galaxy? With patience and cunning, more than you might think."
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The Blistering Hot Exoplanet Where It Snows

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  • Re:I welcome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dominious (1077089) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:29AM (#39350245)
    This is not just for knowledge sake. Weather conditions on other planets may help us understand weather behaviour in general, and in turn understand better the weather conditions on our own planet.
  • by amck (34780) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:49AM (#39350307) Homepage

    We actually run weather and climate models for Mars, now. Currently we've run models on Mars, Titan and Venus, based on Earth weather models. Its a good check on whether the models are right: physics is physics, and bar changing some specific details (water -> methane, CO2 condenses out on Mars, etc) if the model doesn't work on Mars, somethings wrong with the model.

  • Re:I welcome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by An Anonymous Coward (236011) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @06:36AM (#39350505)

    Well sure, if we could actually observe the weather on this planet and confirm or refine our speculations, that would be great. Unfortunately, the technology to do so is well beyond our means at this point. By the time we actually are able to directly observe this planet, our weather models will probably be much more refined as well.

    I'm reminded of the planet discovered over a year ago that was tidally locked to its star, which created a habitable zone circling the planet where the light from the star would hit it at an oblong angle, creating a zone of essentially perpetual twilight where life could form. We had quite a few ideas already for what the environment on this planet must be like, until further measurements of the star system revealed that the "planet" was really just minor errors in the calculations of the star's wobble, and there wasn't even a planet there to begin with.

    This article isn't "just knowledge for knowledge's sake." Indeed, it seems to be purely speculation for speculation's sake. I'm actually very concerned by the line in the summary, "With patience and cunning, more than you might think," because that really implies we know a lot more about what we're talking about than we actually do. I'll just be happy when the weather forecaster on TV can accurately tell me the weather for the next week.

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