A simulated sunset from a foreign solar system — what a dreamy dusk. PhysOrg writes:
Professor Frederic Pont, of the University of Exeter, imagined what it might really look like if a person were able to visit another planet and to then sit quietly watching as the sun set. He used data from a camera onboard Hubble, knowledge of how the color of light changes based on chemicals it encounters, and computer modeling, to create an actual image of what a sunset on an actual planet far out in space would look like. The planet in question, exoplanet HD209458b, nicknamed Osiris, just happens to be quite large and circles its star rather closely.
Though we couldn’t technically sit on the surface of Osiris, since it doesn’t have one, the picture that Pont produced approximates what it would look like, and the results are truly beautiful. The light from Osiris’s star is white, like our own sun, but when it passes through the sodium in Osirisi’s atmosphere, red light in it is absorbed, leaving the starlight to appear blue. But then, as the sun sets, the blue light is scattered in the same way as it is here on Earth (Rayleigh scattering) causing a gradual change to green, and then to mushy dark green. And finally, due to diffraction, the bottom of the image becomes slightly flattened.
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