Simulation Cloudy with a Chance of Pebble Showers: Simulation suggests rocky exoplanet has bizarre atmosphere The exoplanet COROT-7b is close enough to its star that its “day-face” is hot enough to melt rock. Theoretical models suggest the planet has an atmosphere of the components of rock in gaseous form and lava or boiling oceans on its surface.Courtesy of ESO/L. Calcada (original: www.eso.org/gallery/v/ESOPIA/illustrations/phot-33a-09-fullres.tif.html)So accustomed are we to the sunshine, rain, fog and snow of our home planet that we find it next to impossible to imagine a different atmosphere and other forms of precipitation. To be sure, Dr. Seuss came up with a green gluey substance called oobleck that fell from the skies and gummed up the Kingdom of Didd, but it had to be conjured up by wizards and was clearly a thing of magic. Not so the atmosphere of COROT-7b, an exoplanet discovered last February by the COROT space telescope launched by the French and European space agencies. According to models by scientists at Washington University, COROT-7b’s atmosphere is made up of the ingredients of rocks and when “a front moves in,” pebbles condense out of the air and rain into lakes of molten lava below.The work, by Laura Schaefer, research… Read full this story
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