Violent winds are sweeping exoplanet HD189733b, according to astrophysicists with the University of Warwick.
These winds are nothing like anything we could have imaged on Earth. The most violent of hurricanes pale in comparison to the speed at which violent winds are sweeping exoplanet HD198733b. According to the report of the research team, the winds reach 5,400 mph. The highest speed of any wind ever recorded on our home planet is still 20 times less than this astonishing speed.
The astrophysicist team with the University of Warwick have created the first weather map beyond the confines of our solar system. Tom Louden, lead researcher on the study stated that it was known winds hurl on exoplanets. However, no weather mapping system had been set in place until now.
In order to identify the violent winds sweeping exoplanet HD189733b the team used the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher or HARPS. The instrument is located in La Silla, Chile. In order to observe the exoplanet, the light emitted by the host star of HD189733b played an important role.
The exoplanet was easy to detect as it passed in front of the host star’s bright center. As the star’s center is brighter, the light blocked by the atmosphere shifts from region to region explained Tom Louden. The speed of the violent winds was determined by the wavelength of atmospheric sodium. According to Louden’s statement, the atmosphere of HD189733b changes in concordance with the Doppler effect as it moves closer or further from Earth. This allows an accurate measurement of the velocity of winds on the exoplanet.
At the same time, the researchers found that the violent winds are sweeping from the lighted side of the planet to the darker region, being activated by the proximity to the host star. HD 189733b is located 63 light years distance from our solar system. The exoplanet’s atmosphere was measured in 2007 and found to reach 3,700 degrees Fahrenheit in the warm regions and 500 degrees less in the cooler regions.
The Spitzer Space Telescope measurements determining the temperature of the exoplanet’s atmosphere and the recent study have helped determine the direction of the violent wind gusts hurling on the exoplanet.
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