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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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  • by Rhodri Mawr (862554) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:17AM (#39350177)
    I don't know. I travelled all the way to HD 189733b, I was promised snow showers, wispy clouds, high winds. But, just my luck, it rained. It must be because I'm Welsh.
    • At least Michael Fish [wikipedia.org] didn't do the forecast ;)
    • by flyneye (84093)

      Weather men can't predict much better than a coin flip on this planet. Suddenly I should believe a prediction on a distant planet?

      • by terrox (555131)
        more like, we can hardly predict the surface conditions of Mars until we go there with a probe - further planets are mostly a guess, and planets lightyears away?.. hahahah.. super guestimate based on guesses based on earth. 1% chance of being correct.
    • by niktemadur (793971) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @07:39AM (#39350787)

      Does being Welsh make you arrive 63 years late at 99.99% the speed of light?

      • by ciderbrew (1860166) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @08:18AM (#39350995)
        Having waited in a pub for a Welsh bloke to turn up on a number of occasions, I'd say 63 years late was rather prompt. The amount of drinking done after they arrive is worth the wait. You'd not want to start much earlier.
        • Great. Only too late do I wish I had mod points.

          You'd not want to start much earlier.
          Yes, factoring in the shut-ins at pubs. Been there in Wales (Raglan, to be precise), great fun until shamefully late hours.
          Ah, the memories...

        • You'd not want to start much earlier.

          Well, with a wait of 63 years, that takes a lot of self-control...

        • There's a reason that jokes start "An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman walk into a bar..." - the Welshman was already there from the night before.
      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        Not sure whether Welsh are late, but being from Wight helps to make you early:

        There once was a man from Wight
        Who could travel much faster than light
        He set off one day
        In a relative way
        And returned home the previous night.

        My favorite non-licentious limerick!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I thought the weather quite dry. I'm from Seattle.

    • So would this be ShiverBurn or FreezeFlame I? So long as I don't have to run up the volcano without touching lava once, I think I'll be fine.

      And I, for one, would just like to say: "Welcome, new a galaxy!!"
    • At least it wasn't some Canadian guy trying to sing reggae music.
  • by Spy Handler (822350) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:22AM (#39350219) Homepage Journal
    Take Mars for instance. There was a lot of good scientific guesswork based on indirect observation, but when they finally sent a probe there, all the talk about canals and whatnot faded away...
  • .... does the silicate come from? Will it have migrated all the way from the (presumably) rocky core through thousands of miles of gas or is it formed by some sort of reaction in the atmosphere?

    • On such a planet, silicate IS perhaps the gas (in a similar way that our atmosphere consists partially of water vapor)?

      • by Muad'Dave (255648)

        Hopefully it's not the silicon analog to methane - silane [wikipedia.org]. Here on Earth it's toxic and pyrophoric (self-igniting) in air. Nasty business. Imagine opening a valve on a silane tank and getting a '30 FOOT TONGUE OF LETHAL FLAME!' [homage to a jet dragster commercial from my youth].

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...Not to put this work down at all. It is important and difficult and it is amazing how far we've come. But our ability to observe is limited so a lot of this is by necessity speculation and hypothesis. The planets in our own solar system - much nearer - still offer suprrises when we visit them. To think that we can know with any real certainty what exoplanets are like from the limited data our current tech gathers is foolish to say the least.

  • Hoth of course!
  • AGW again! (Score:4, Funny)

    by billrp (1530055) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @06:03AM (#39350355)
    By just observing the weather we've probably already changed it!
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @07:21AM (#39350683) Homepage

    Planet. It's a planet. Flash Gordon didn't rock the spandex on "exoplanets". Captain Kirk didn't put the beat-down on that Gorn on an "exoearth".

    They're just planets. The context makes it all clear, and "exo" is just meaningless marketeer blurb. Please stop it.

    • Planet. It's a planet. Flash Gordon didn't rock the spandex on "exoplanets". Captain Kirk didn't put the beat-down on that Gorn on an "exoearth".

      They've tried to stop it, but have made a compromise... The term was shortened from: Extra-Terrestrial Planets.

      • by homsar (2461440)
        Oh, I thought it was extra-solar. As in, not part of our solar system. Non-exo planets would be much more exciting to discover (if far less likely, unless you count dwarf planets).
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Extra-Terrestrial means not Earth.

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Call in an "exosolar planet", "unbound free-floating planetary-mass body", or "exoplanet", but it's reasonable to qualify the word to indicate that the planet is not bound to our Sun or another star.
      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        Exosolar planet means not around our star. Our sun's name is Sol.
        Exostellar would mean an unbounded free-floating planetary-mass body but that has other issues since the current definition of a plant involves it sweeping it's orbit clear of other bodies which a free-floating mass can not really do but it is still workable.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Flash Gordon and Star Trek were fiction. We knew of no exoplanets in the 1930s and 1960s. The name wasn't thought up by marketers, it was coined by astronomers.

      Likewise, the SF guys all call our star the "sun" while Alpha Proxima is simply a "star". Solar planets are unique in that they circle not a star, but the sun -- even though the sun is a star.

      It's a lot more logical than planets vs dwarf planets.

  • on captain kirk's love life

  • Fine, but what's the low going to be?
  • As anyone who has lived in the desert can tell you, silica haze is pretty common when the wind blows. When it settles, we don't call it snow. We call it dust.

  • What is this 9656, 1472, 1652 bullshit? COME ON. [youtube.com]

    Why not:

    The wind will be steady from the east at speeds approaching 3,000 m/s (6,000 mph). Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800C (1500F), while the equatorial hot spot at 30 degrees longitude is expected to top 900C (1700F).

    • This really makes me CRAZY. "Lady found a three foot alligator (0.9144 m) in her bathtub!" What the fuck is wrong with one meter in this case???

  • Daytime temperatures will average a balmy 800C (1,472F)

    Because 800C is of course precise to the degree...try 1500F instead.

  • high chance of silicate snow showers

    Does this mean that it's basically raining sand?

  • How does "a plausible scenario for this species, a high-altitude silicate haze" translate to "a high chance of silicate snow showers." "High-altitude" alone removes any connotation of "showers." Sounds more like "clouds" to me.

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