Astronomers have recently revealed a new planet which appears to be surrounded by clouds of jewels. As strange as it may sound, scientists unveiled some strange weather patterns on a planet situated outside our solar system. The announcement was made public on December 12 by a team of British researchers.
A team of scientists at the University of Warwick has analyzed cloud formation on a massive exoplanet named HAT-P-7b, located at approximately 1,040 light-years away. All this data provided by NASA’s Kepler telescope which is bound to reveal new planets. Based on previous information, researchers were aware that HAT-P-7b circulates its star in a tight orbit, being able to complete a full revolution in just 2.2 days.
This strange planet is 40% bigger than Jupiter and five hundred times larger than Earth. Due to the proximity between the exoplanet and its star, HAT-P-7b is tidally linked just like Terra’s moon is tidally immobilized to Earth. David Armstrong, the lead author of the study, argued that they believed that constant daylight and extreme temperature on one side of the planet which always faces its star may help to prevent cloud formation.
Dr. Armstrong claimed that after analyzing the new world, he together with his team assumed that clouds could form only the other side of the globe where there was a constant night. If clouds were to form on the hot dayside, they would immediately evaporate. What is curious is that scientists revealed that cloud formation occurred on both sides of the planet, implying intricate weather patterns.
The strangest thing that they have discovered was that these clouds appear to be made from material similar to the structure of sapphires and rubies. This surprising discovery was included in a paper which was published on December 12 in Nature Astronomy magazine. It is the first time when astronomers see such an atmospheric phenomenon consisting in clouds of jewels.
Researchers have analyzed all the information provided by Kepler between 2009 and 2013, and they revealed that there was a bright spot on the surface of HAT-P-7b which continued to change its position, implying that clouds were always moving across its atmosphere.
Armstrong argued that these outcomes prove that the planet is surrounded by powerful winds which transport the clouds of jewels from the day side to the night side and vice versa. These circulating winds change their speed causing massive cloud formation and then dissipating.
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