Scientists Record 5,400 Miles Per Hour Winds On Alien Gas Giant

The planet HD 189733b is shown here in front of its parent star. Mark A. Garlick/University of Warwick

The planet HD 189733b is shown here in front of its parent star. Mark A. Garlick/University of Warwick

For the first time ever, astronomers have mapped the weather patterns on a planet outside of our solar system.

Avaneesh Pandey via IB Times:

Astronomers have measured and mapped a weather system on a planet outside our solar system for the first time ever, and discovered a world where raging winds blow at nearly 5,400 miles per hour — nearly 20 times greater than the fastest ever recorded on Earth. The exoplanet — HD 189733b — lies nearly 63 light years from our solar system, and is the closest “hot Jupiter” to Earth.

“Whilst we have previously known of wind on exoplanets, we have never before been able to directly measure and map a weather system,” Tom Louden, an astrophysicist at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, and lead researcher for the project, said, in a statement released Friday.

The researchers were able to measure the winds by using a combination of spectroscopy and the Doppler Effect, as described in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Doppler Effect stated that the frequency a wave as perceived by an observer changes depending on the relative velocity of the object producing that wave. So, if a light-emitting — or in this case, a light-reflecting object — is moving away from observers on Earth, the light will be red-shifted. When it moves toward Earth, the light will be blue-shifted.

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h/t Unexplained Mysteries.