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Distant Planet Is Half Fire, Half Ice

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posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 08:27 PM
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The poet Robert Frost wondered if Earth would wind up a world
of fire or ice.
Astronomers have discovered that a distant planet is both.

With one side always hot as lava and the other chilled possibly
below freezing, Upsilon Andromeda b is a giant gas planet that
orbits extremely close to Upsilon Andromeda, a star 40 lightyears
from our solar system in the constellation Andromeda.

"If you were moving across the planet from the night side to the
day side, the temperature jump would be equivalent to leaping
into a volcano," said study leader Brad Hansen of the University
of California, Los Angeles.

The new finding, detailed online in the journal Science, marks the
first time any kind of temperature variation has been seen across
the surface of a planet outside our solar system.

Using infrared data collected by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope,
the researchers calculated that temperatures on the sunlit side
of the Upsilon Andromeda b were between 2,550 to 3,000 degrees
Fahrenheit (1,400 to 1,650 degrees Celsius) but only minus 4 to
450 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 230 degrees Celsius) on the
dark side.
Jupiter, in contrast, maintains an even temperature all around.


SOURCE:
Space.com


This is an interesting discovery.
I was actually waiting for something like this to be discovered,
though I honestly did'nt expect to this kind of thing to be disco-
vered for another decade or so.


Comments, Opinions?




posted on Oct, 12 2006 @ 10:11 PM
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that is very interesting
I wonder how many unique planets like this we'll find in the next few years?
thanks for the news iori_komei



posted on Oct, 13 2006 @ 12:01 AM
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Good find Iori! It would be interesting to see what the planet is actually composed of. Man, it has to be pretty violent near the "terminator" on that planet with a fluctuation in temperature that extreme.



posted on Oct, 15 2006 @ 01:03 PM
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i'd like to know what the effect it would have on the elements on that planet. being melted and then frozen together in such a short time so many times. think that could probably come up with completely unique compounds or even new elements? interesting to see what was down there!



posted on Oct, 15 2006 @ 06:23 PM
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That would be interesting to see, I doubt we'd find very many new
compounds if any though, since we artificially do that in the name
of science and progression.


Something it stated in the article I did'nt post in my shortened version,
is that it may be tidally locked, that is it does'nt spin, the same side
faces the star all the time.



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