New planet discovered where "glass rains sideways"

Using the Hubble telescope astronomers found a new planet. It's blue like Earth, but not as friendly

Published July 11, 2013 4:15PM (EDT)


Scientists have discovered a new "exoplanet," a celestial body that rotates around a star other than our sun. HD 189733b is a mere 63 light-years away and while it's blue like Earth it's far less hospitable.

Agence France Presse reports that the planet's atmospheric temperature is a toasty 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit and "It rains glass, sideways, in howling 7,000 kilometre-per-hour (4,350 miles-per-hour) winds."

The blue comes not from the reflection of a tropical ocean, as in Earth's case, but a hazy, turbulent atmosphere believed to be laced with silicate particles -- the stuff of which glass is made.

These particles scatter blue light, said the team.

HD 189733b is an example of a "hot Jupiter" planet, similar in size to the gas giants in our own Solar System, but closer to their parent star.

There are 723 confirmed exoplanets, with the first discovered in 1995. You can keep track of them at

By Alex Halperin

Alex Halperin is news editor at Salon. You can follow him on Twitter @alexhalperin.

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Astronomy Hd 189733b Planet Science