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Exoplanet Corot-7b has rocky rain

Posted on Saturday, October 03 2009 @ 19:30:36 CEST by


Last month scientists were able to calculate that exoplanet Corot-7b has an average density about the same as our planet, but as the planet is in a very close orbit to its star the star-facing side has a temperature of about 2,600 degrees Kelvin. Models suggest the planet atmosphere consists of gaseous rock components, and that pebbles condense out of the air and rain into lakes of molten lava below.
"Sodium, potassium, silicon monoxide and then oxygen — either atomic or molecular oxygen — make up most of the atmosphere." But there are also smaller amounts of the other elements found in silicate rock, such as magnesium, aluminum, calcium and iron.

The atmosphere has its own weird weather. "As you go higher the atmosphere gets cooler and eventually you get saturated with different types of 'rock' the way you get saturated with water in the atmosphere of Earth," explains Fegley. "But instead of a water cloud forming and then raining water droplets, you get a 'rock cloud' forming and it starts raining out little pebbles of different types of rock."
More info about the weird atmosphere of this planet can be found at TG Daily.


 



 

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