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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Partly Cloudy with Chance of Molton Rock

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, October 2, 2013/Categories: natural history, photography, space science

Kepler-7b was one of several thousand exoplanets discovered by the Kepler and Spitzer Space Telescopes. Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has now produced a map of clouds circling the planet. This is the first cloud map of an exoplanet every produced.

The giant gaseous world---nearly twice the size of Jupiter---closely circles its parent star 1000 light years from Earth completing a revolution every 7 days. Its temperatures have been estimated between 1500-1800 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to melt rock.


Kepler-7b Exoplanet Clouds and Jupiter  (credit: JPL)

According to JPL, the planet is marked by high clouds in the west and clear skies in the east. The clouds don't appear to move across the sky as typical of any clouds known on Earth. Silicates have been detected as part of the cloud and atmospheric chemistry.

A weather report for Kepler-7b might call for cloudy days with a chance of molten rock.



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