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This Exoplanet's Infernal Atmosphere is Terrifying

First Posted: Apr 10, 2015 03:36 PM EDT
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Astronomers have discovered an exoplanet with a truly terrifying atmosphere. They've found that the planet, named HD189733b, has infernal atmospheric conditions with wind speeds of more than 1,000 kilometers per hour and a temperature that skyrockets to 3,000 degrees.

With its temperatures and winds, the atmosphere of the exoplanet is truly turbulent. Yet actually acquiring the measurements for the planet wasn't easy. The figures come from observations made over sodium spectral lines. The element is contained in the exoplanet's atmosphere, and was measured by the HARPs SPECTROMETER.

When there is an atmosphere, sodium is the source of a clearly recognizable signal, whose intensity varies at the time when the planet passes before its star during a transit.

In this last study, the researchers detected variations in sodium lines during several transits. In fact, the scientists were able to develop a new technique of interpreting variations in sodium lines. Instead of using a sophisticated computer model, the scientists use a set of simple formulae, which enables variations in temperature, density and pressure to be expressed within an atmosphere.

These findings don't just tell researchers a bit more about an exoplanet that has a truly wild atmosphere, though. It also paves the way to exploring exoplanet atmospheres in the future.

The findings are published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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