Holy Hot Jupiter! This Planet Has Winds Gusting At 5,400 MPH
If cyclones and hurricanes are fast blowing wind phenomena, what do we call winds that gust at 5,400 mph?
According to Discovery News, researchers at University of Warwick have measured wind speeds on an exoplanet 68 light years away from Earth. The planet HD 189733b is 10 percent bigger than Jupiter but several times hotter as it is much closer to its star than Mercury is. Day temperatures can touch 3,700 degree Fahrenheit.
Using wavelength changes of atmospheric sodium caused by Doppler Effect as the planet moves to and away from Earth, researchers could measure wind speeds.
"The surface of the star is brighter at the centre than it is at the edge, so as the planet moves in front of the star the relative amount of light blocked by different parts of the atmosphere changes. For the first time we've used this information to measure the velocities on opposite sides of the planet independently, which gives us our velocity map," the study's lead researcher Tom Louden said adding that this is the first time researchers have mapped weather for a planet from outside the solar system.
Christian Science Monitor points out that the highest wind gusting speeds recorded here on Earth was 253 mph, during tropical cyclone Olivia in 1996. The finding that HD 189733b has wind speeds exceeding Mach 7, researchers are indeed blown away!