Giant exoplanet reveals its true colors

Artist's impression of blue planet HD 189733b. Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA/G. Bacon (STScI)

Astronomers said on July 11 they had found another blue planet a long, long way from Earth — no water world, but a scorching, hostile place where it rains glass, sideways. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, scientists from NASA and its European counterpart, ESA, have for the first time determined the true color of an exoplanet, celestial bodies which orbit stars other than our own Sun. They concluded that HD 189733b, a gas giant 63 light-years from our own planet, was a deep cobalt blue, “reminiscent of Earth’s color as seen from space.” This planet, however, orbits very close to its host star and its atmosphere is heated to over 1,000ºC. The planet is one of the nearest exoplanets to Earth that can be seen crossing the face of its star, and has been intensively studied by Hubble and other telescopes.

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