New Planet With Clouds Made Of Jewels Discovered; Exoplanet HAT-P-7b Has Sapphires & Rubies In Its Sky? Mass Is 500 Times Larger Than Earth

By V Doctor , Updated Dec 15, 2016 03:15 PM EST
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Astronomers recently found a new planet, called HAT-P-7b, with clouds made of jewels. According to scientists, the clouds forming on an exoplanet HAT-P-7b may be made of the same material as sapphires and rubies.

HAT-P-7b's Clouds of Sapphires and Rubies

CSMonitor reported that for the first time in history, scientists noticed cloud formation and weather patterns on the huge exoplanet HAT-P-7b, which is located 1,040 light years away from Earth. The astronomers found the unique clouds through the Kepler space telescope and stated that the planet is 40 percent larger than Jupiter and 500 times bigger than Earth.

HAT-P-7b moves fast around its star, managing a full revolution in 2.2 days. Its close proximity causes one side of the planet to permanently face the star, in the same way that the Earth's moon is tidally locked to the planet.

The study's lead author stated that HAT-P-7b features extreme temperatures and constant daylight on one side. Its star is twice the size of the Earth's sun, which in effect stops cloud formation.

Dr. Armstrong said that they expect clouds to form on the cold night side of HAT-P-7b, although these would quickly evaporate on its hot dayside. The scientists determined that there are clouds on both sides of HAT-P-7b, which are made of the same materials that comprise sapphiresand rubies.

Clouds Made of Corundum

Dr. Armstrong noted that it is also highly possible that the clouds are made of corundum. They see essentially large condensed clouds of minerals being blown across HAT-P-7b. The expert have actually been observing the exoplanet's surface from 2009 to 2013, and found that its brightest spot was constantly shifting positions, hinting that the clouds traveled across its atmosphere. 

The results present that strong winds circle HAT-P-7b. The winds change speed dramatically, causing large cloud formations to build up before dying away. Space.com reported that clouds are unlike the ones on Earth.

It is the first time that scientists observed such a phenomenon, although they expect to see similar weather patterns in the future. In the meantime, experts are looking forward to observing HAT-P-7b and other galaxies more after the more advanced James Webb Space Telescope launches in 2018.

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