Blustery Hell-Off-Earth Exoplanet Charted: A mere 60 light-years away, orbiting an orangish star called HD 189733, is a world an Earthling would not want to visit. The planet is a gas giant, like Jupiter or Saturn, but unlike those familiar worlds this one hugs tightly to its host star, orbiting at about one thirtieth the distance at which Earth circles the sun. The exoplanet, labeled HD 189733 b, stays mighty toasty under its astronomical broiler, with temperatures upward of 900 degrees Celsius. HD 189733 b is tidally locked, meaning that the same hemisphere faces the star at all times, much the same way that the same side of the moon always faces Earth. HD 189733 b is closer to our solar system than all but a few known exoplanets. It is a giant, about 14% larger in diameter than Jupiter, orbiting next to a host star that is about 20% smaller than the sun. Those dimensions, coupled with the planet’s extreme heat, make for a relatively strong thermal signature that can be isolated from the radiation given off by the star alone. But future infrared observatories, such as NASA’s massive James Webb Space Telescope, may be able to map additional exoplanets.
Read full story at:
Mysterious Orbs Confound North Carolina County for Decades: Two orange orbs, just about 10 feet off the ground, floated past Steve Woody and his father as they hunted deer more than 50 years ago. The mysterious lights passed them, then dropped down the side of a gorge in the Blue Ridge foothills. For at least a century, the Brown Mountain Lights have confounded residents and tourists in a rugged patch of Burke County, bobbing and weaving near a modest peak. Are they reflections from automobile headlights? Brush fires? A paranormal phenomenon, or something natural not yet explained by science?
The Brown Mountain Lights have drawn serious scientific interest since the 1920s, when the U.S. Geological Survey issued a report concluding the lights were reflections from automobiles, trains and brush fires. Daniel Caton, a professor in the physics and astronomy department at Appalachian State University, thinks that’s part of the explanation for what people have reported seeing over the years.
Read full story at:
Share this post...