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Odd planet's extreme global warming: Highs of 2240

A study published in the latest issue of Nature indicates there is a distant planet -- HD 80606b -- which is four times the size of Jupiter and is able to heat up more than 1,200 degrees in just six hours.

"We watched the development of one of the fiercest storms in the galaxy," Lick Observatory astronomer Greg Laughlin said in a statement.  "If you could float above the clouds of this planet, you'd see its sun growing larger and larger at faster and faster rates, increasing in brightness by almost a factor of 1,000."

The NASA Spitzer Space Telescope was used to study the changing weather on HD 80606b -- a first for a planet outside of our solar system. It also has a very distinct orbit, as it comes closer to its sun than Mercury's distance from the Earth's sun, before launching away to be just as far as Earth is from the sun.

When it's closest to the sun, radiation is 800 times stronger than when it is orbiting far away from the sun.  The planet orbits the star in 111 days.  The extremely high heat and severe temperature changes obviously make it unlikely any signs of life exist on the planet.

"The orbit is extremely eccentric," Laughlin said in the NASA statement.  "Of the expolanets that have been detected -- we've observed 300 -- this is the most extreme orbit we've seen so far."

The odd orbit accounts for the planet's extreme temperature change, with the planet normally averaging a temperature around 980 degrees.

Astronomers look forward to learning more about the planet, especially its odd orbit that causes extreme temperature changes.  They also want to try and get a direct image of the planet sometime in the future, and leave behind artist's interpretations.

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By GeorgeH on 1/29/2009 8:30:42 PM , Rating: 2
It might, if the earth's orbit were decaying in any substantive way.

Fact: Mankind's activities affect the earth's climate.
Fact: The sun affects the earth's climate.

While the relative importance and magnitude of both contributions WRT climate change is an interesting and important debate, I'm very, very tired of seeing useless broadsides like this in every article that even remotely relates to the subject. So, for the sake of my sanity, please save such comments for Asher's inevitable quarterly GW article.

Thank you.

By MicahK on 1/29/2009 8:47:49 PM , Rating: 2
Fact: Mankind's activities affect the earth's climate.

Although I agree that mankind is messing up the planet, the above statement is NOT fact... There is no conclusive scientific evidence to support it.

By GeorgeH on 1/29/2009 9:45:47 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it is. The magnitude/importance of our effects is the scientifically debatable quantity.

RE: Yes, Virginia, the sun is a "burning" ball of gas.
By Regs on 1/29/2009 10:16:22 PM , Rating: 2
Tell that to the Dinosaurs.

By GeorgeH on 1/29/2009 10:24:47 PM , Rating: 3
Provide the DeLorean and a Dino-Translator, and I'd be happy to.

By Spinne on 1/29/2009 10:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
Fact: Mankind's activities affect the earth's climate.
Fact: The sun affects the earth's climate

About fact 1, I'm totally with you, but you sure about fact 2?

By GeorgeH on 1/29/2009 10:20:25 PM , Rating: 2
I really hope you're joking...

By aBott on 1/29/2009 11:27:17 PM , Rating: 2
Bears. Beats. Battlestar Galactica.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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