Superstorm on exoplanet
Dutch astronomers have measured a superstorm for the first time in the atmosphere of an exoplanet, the well-studied “hot Jupiter” HD209458b. The very high-precision observations of carbon monoxide gas show that it is streaming at enormous speed from the extremely hot day side to the cooler night side of the planet.
The observations also allow another exciting “first” — measuring the orbital speed of the exoplanet itself, providing a direct determination of its mass. The research team, under supervision of atronomer Ignas Snellen publishes the results in this week’s ‘Nature’.
Photo: Planet with superstorm (artist's impression)