Friday, July 12, 2013

The Stained-Glass Planet

"Captain's Log, Stardate 071213. We have now ventured close to the planet HD 189733b and can see it with our own eyes for the first time. It is a deep blue, not an ocean-blue, but brilliant sapphire against the backdrop of space. The away team is preparing their protective gear to withstand the raining glass shards and 9000 mile-per-hour winds... "

If we can't go to this planet, at least we can see the light. For the first time the light from a distant planet has been analyzed and, at the risk of mixing genres, it is the blue of the TARDIS. See the graph above to see how different this is from our system's planets. Two words: silicate rain.

This planet is so inhospitable to conceivable life that it makes our Jupiter seem downright cozy. But it's not about the possibility of life for this planet. It's about the color, and what a glorious color it is.

More information and a link to the paper preprint here.

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