Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope discovered a sea change in the upper atmosphere of a distant planet.
Immediately after an intense flare parent star the planet HD 189733b has undergone a powerful X-ray irradiation, which vaporised a hefty portion of the atmosphere. This is a special case where the researchers were able to observe changes in climate and weather conditions on the planet outside of our solar system.
The planet HD 189733b has a blue sky, but this is its similarity to Earth ends. This is a huge gas giant like Jupiter, but located very close to its star — only 1/30 of the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
The team of astronomers from the CNRS-UPMC, France, used the Hubble Space Telescope to observe the atmosphere of the exoplanet HD 189733b during two periods: in early 2010 and late 2011. At this time exoplanet held against its parent star, which allowed us to study the composition of its atmosphere.
Observations have revealed the evaporation of the atmosphere, similar to that observed for other exoplanets — heic0403.
When HD 189733b was observed in 2010, the terms of her no hope of a possible habitability. Though the parent star of the planet and colder than the Sun, but a small radius of the orbit led to the temperature on the surface of HD 189733b is 1000 degrees Celsius. The first set of observations somewhat disappointed scientists — they found no traces of the atmosphere. But when the next year of observation was repeated, showed interesting changes: from the planet rising gas giant pillar, taking into space at least 1,000 tons of gas per second.
Thus, the scientists saw the dramatic changes that have happened to the planet in a relatively short period. Analysis of this phenomenon, supported by satellite observations of Swift, suggesting that the crash caused a huge outbreak of the parent star HD 189733A. Ultraviolet and X-ray emission is 20 times more powerful than our sun, hit the planet, which was too close to the star. As a result of X-ray dose at the surface of HD 189733b was 3 million times higher than on Earth.