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Scientists find blue planet

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A team of astronomers from NASA and its European counterpart, ESA, said Thursday they had found another blue planet a long, long way from Earth, 63 light-years away – a planet that "rains glass". 

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An artist's image of Planet HD 189733b. AFP photo

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Far, far away: another blue planet

A team of astronomers from NASA and its European counterpart, ESA,  said Thursday they had found another blue planet a long, long way from Earth, 63 light-years away. That is, it takes light, travelling at 299,705 km/second, 63 years to get here from there.

Blue, of course, brings to mind our own planet with its vast oceans, abundant oxygen and, above all, life.

Well, planet HD 189733b may be blue, but that is where its similarity with Earth ends.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, the scientists found that the exoplanet, a planet outside our solar system, orbits very close to its host star and its atmosphere is heated to over 1,000 degrees Celsius.

It is so hot, in fact, that it "rains glass, sideways, in howling 7,000 kilometre-per-hour winds," said the statement from the scientists.

Its blue colour 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 much closer to its parent star.

A total of 723 confirmed exoplanets have been found since the first was spotted in 1995. None appear to be able to support life.

Adapted from an AFP story.

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abundant: more than enough - มากมาย

astronomer: a scientist who studies astronomy, the scientific study of the sun, moon, stars, planets, etc. - นักดาราศาสตร์

atmosphere: the mixture of gases that surrounds the earth or another planet - บรรยากาศ

counterpart: someone/something who has the same job or purpose as another person or thing, but in a different country, time, situation, or organisation - ผู้ที่ทำงานประเภทเดียวกัน; ผู้ที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งเสมอกัน

hazy: not clear because of haze - ซึ่งมีหมอก

host: an animal or a plant on which another animal or plant lives and feeds; something on which something else depends - สัตว์หรือพืชที่เป็นที่อาศัยของปรสิต, เจ้าภาพ

howl: (of wind) to blow hard and make a long loud noise - หอน,ร้องโหยหวน

lace: to twist/combine something together with another thing - ผสม

particle: an extremely small piece or amount of something - ฝุ่นละอองขนาดเล็ก

planet: a large round object in space that moves around a star (such as the sun) and receives light from it - ดาวเคราะห์

reflection: an image in a mirror, on a shiny surface, on water, etc - ภาพสะท้อน

scatter: to spread over a large area - กระจัดกระจาย

similarity: being like somebody/something but not exactly the same - ความคล้ายคลึง, ความเหมือน

solar system: a star and the planets that go round it, especially the Sun and the group of planets that includes the Earth - ระบบสุริยะ

spot: to see or notice - สังเกตเห็น

tropical: relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn - ในเขตร้อน

turbulent: changing often or difficult to control - ผันผวน

vast: extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. - กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล

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Related search: blue exoplanet, HD 189733b, NASA

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