back to article NASA's search for habitable planets maps ALIEN CLOUD-WORLD

NASA has mapped the "cloud" structure of an alien world for the first time using its Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, an early step towards finding planets with human-compatible atmospheres. Partially Cloudy Skies on Kepler-7b Kepler-7b (L), which is 1.5 times the radius of Jupiter (R), has its clouds mapped by Kepler …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bloody weather

    Always the same, isn't it?

  2. Mintyboy

    between 1,500 and 1,800 Fahrenheit (815°C to 982°C) - and we are worrying about global warming - mines the one with the factor 10,000 dripping out of the pocket

  3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

    Let me be the first to say...

    "Those are no clouds."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Let me be the first to say...

      ""Those are no clouds.""

      They might not be clouds as we know them. At that temp they could well be some sort of condensing metal vapour.

  4. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    The stable cloud patter might be due to some form of tidal locking of the planet, so the same side always faces the star, but maybe that does not work on "hot Jupiters" as they are known (I thought Jupiter was always hot (or should that be "had the hots", given his mythological exploits with the opposite sex).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tidally locked planets with atmospheres would seem to be likely to have more extreme wind patterns than those rotating freely, due to a greater difference in temperature between the night and day sides. "Normal" cloud layers won't hang around long in that sort of environment.

      If I had to hazard a guess, my money would be on this being a superstorm substantially bigger than the red spot. World-sized glass-filled ultrahurricanes, anyone?

    2. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Ignoring the eye

      At low resolution dont the bands Jupiter appear to be tidally locked too?

      ie the apparent locking could just be a artifact of the low resolution capturing process itself.

  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    Hugely impressive.

    According to Wikipedia the first exo planet was found in 1995.

    18 years ago.

    In less that 2 decades we've gone from "We think they're planets orbiting other suns" to "Here's our current list, with the Earth like ones marked. We'll send you copies of the first pictures later."

    It's a pretty long way.

    Where will have got to in 2028?

    1. Katie Saucey

      Re: Hugely impressive.

      "Where will have got to in 2028?"

      NSA surveillance of these worlds.

      1. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: Hugely impressive.

        NSA surveillance of these worlds.

        That's a brilliant idea! If we can just convince the NSA that there is a reason, good or bad, to spy on these worlds, we would increase many-fold the resources put into space exploration. Now, how to do this...?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Hugely impressive.

          Now, how to do this...?

          Don't worry, somebody in the NSA has already taken down your idea and put it in the suggestions box...

    2. Gav

      Re: Hugely impressive.

      The thing is that those planets discovered by Kepler are only those on a tiny portion of the visible sky, and only those where the planet orbits are angled in just the right way that we can detect them. So that means that we've only just started looking in 0.25 percent of the sky.

      There's a long, long way we can go yet.

      1. Katie Saucey

        Re: Hugely impressive. Re: Gav

        You are quite right, their version of the NSA has been tapping us for centuries.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: Hugely impressive.

        "There's a long, long way we can go yet."

        That was sort of my point.

    3. RISC OS

      Re: Hugely impressive.

      A lot according to wikipedia is bollocks.

      Just sayin'

      Who would have thought that skeleton keys are called pikeys in ireland?


      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Hugely impressive.

        @RISC OS

        The most impressive thing about the page you linked to, and also about the similar 10 biggest Wikipedia hoaxes is that they are so spectacularly dull. Most of them are uninteresting falsehoods about slebs I've never heard of. Apparently Wikipedia said somebody called Sinbad was dead when he wasn't. I thought Sinbad was a fictional character in The 1001 Nights.

        I love the skeleton key item, though. It's tantalisingly plausible, but you feel it's probably a hoax.

  6. Vociferous

    Or a world with tidally locked rotation and a dark side ice sheet.

    Yeah, the atmosphere can fall out as ice even on a planet with a 900 C bright side. Vacuum is the best insulator there is.

  7. Sceptic Tank Bronze badge

    Darn! That settles it: their's IS bigger than ours. Our's is prettier though.

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