NASA has revealed storms on HD 189733b rain glass at seven times the speed of sound and temperatures hit 5,400°F. Glass particles in the atmosphere give it a dazzling blue color. "To the human eye, this far-off planet looks bright blue," NASA says "But any space traveler confusing it with the friendly skies of Earth would be badly mistaken. The weather on this world is deadly."
HD 189733b's blue hue is probably caused by light scattering off silicate particles in its atmosphere, scientists say. HD 189733b is much bigger and hotter than Earth; it's about the size of Jupiter and orbits its host star in just 2.2 Earth days. That orbit is so close that the exoplanet is probably tidally locked, always showing one face to its star, just as the moon always shows one face (the near side) to Earth.
The winds on HD 189733b (which lies about 63 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Vulpecula) blow at up to 5,400 mph (8,700 km/h) — about seven times the speed of sound and the rain on this world is made not of water, but of molten glass. Why, then, does this bizarre planet appear so superficially Earth-like? It's just a coincidence, scientists said.
"The cobalt blue color comes not from the reflection of a tropical ocean, as on Earth, but rather a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing high clouds laced with silicate particles," NASA officials wrote in a statement.
HD 189733b was discovered in 2005, and scientists figured out its color in 2013 using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and other instruments.
Scientists found that the temperature on the planet increases dramatically with altitude – up to 3,000°C (5,400°F) in the upper atmosphere, hot enough to melt lead. Lower down on the planet, temperatures are believed to drop to a still-scorching 1,700°C (3,100°F). To measure the wind, the team measured how the sodium lines were ‘blueshifted’ -meaning its light was stretched in such a way to indicate it was coming towards us. This blueshift suggests the hyper winds are coming from a circulation process on the planet.
The researchers used the 3.6 metres wide telescope at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in La Silla, Chile.