Astronomers Find Blue Planet

But you wouldn't want to live there

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 11, 2013 6:48 PM CDT | Updated Jul 12, 2013 3:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – A space traveler might be forgiven for mistaking Earth for another planet known as HD189733b from a distance—they're both a pleasant shade of blue. As Space.com explains, astronomers have for the first time determined the color of a far-flung world, this one 63 light-years away. (They did so not with a direct image but by measuring reflections of light from its surface, explains the BBC.) The planet isn't very Earth-like in the ways that matter, however: It's an insanely hot gas giant where glass rains sideways in 4,000mph winds.

In fact, it's that glass, or silicate, that scatters blue light and gives the planet its hue, reports the CBC. So maybe not a great place to visit, but still a milestone discovery, thanks to the Hubble and its Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. "Measuring its color is a real first," says one of the researchers. "We can actually imagine what this planet would look like if we were able to look at it directly."

An illustration of what the planet probably looks like.
An illustration of what the planet probably looks like.   (NASA/European Space Agency/M. Kornmesser)
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