Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exoplanet HD 80606b

Another news item which is out of my league with a fascinating "out-of-this-world" picture from NASA Spitzer Space Telescope:

with this note as given in the MSNBC article by Jeanna Bryner:
This photo shows computer-generated images charting the development of severe weather patterns on exoplanet HD 80606b. Astronomers have observed a planet some 200 light years from Earth that, for a few hours, becomes 700 degrees Celsius (1,300 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter every time its elliptical orbit brings it close to its sun.
And this explanation:
One extrasolar planet takes heat waves to the extreme: Within six hours, temperatures on the gas giant can soar by more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit (555 degrees C).

The intense baking triggers shock-wave storms that whip around the planet quicker than the speed of sound, carrying with them skyrocketing heat and high-speed winds.

Known as HD 80606b, the gaseous planet was discovered in 2001 by a Swiss planet-hunting team led by Dominique Naef of the Geneva Observatory. It is about four times the mass of Jupiter and is located 200 light-years from Earth.

So while we have always thought that Algore/Jimmy Hansen are barking at the wrong tree, it's really that they are barking at the wrong planet. Come to think of it, NASA should send Albert and Jimmy to HD 80606b and they'll be fitting right in with those SUV-driving people there. It's all SUV, nothing but SUV, of course. What else can cause that kind of soaring temperature? Even it's only 200 l.y. away!

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