Watch exoplanet HD 189733b in action
Astronomers have been able to map the surface of this extrasolar world.
December 28, 2009
Some 63 million light-years away, in the constellation Vulpecula the Fox, binary star system HD 189733 has at least one exoplanet in orbit, designated HD 189733b.
The first thermal map of any exoplanet depicts the temperatures on HD 189733b, with hotter temperatures appearing brighter. The planet is tidally locked, meaning the same side always faces its star, with the central longitude here directly facing its sun. The map shows that the hottest point is not the middle of the day side, but a spot to the east.
Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/H. Knutson (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
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