As the temperature climbs past the century mark in Houston, a lot of families are escaping the heat to enjoy our year round 73 degree indoor fun at Space Center Houston. Despite the sweltering Texas heat, it could have been much worse — about 1,800F degrees worse. In fact, we have it easy compared to a distant celestial cousin recently discovered by NASA! Imagine living on a planet that is constantly simmering under the blow torch like forces of its own Sun. Sound like Houston in the summer?
An international team of astronomers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has made an unparalleled observation, detecting significant changes in the atmosphere of a planet located beyond our solar system.
The scientists conclude the atmospheric variations occurred in response to a powerful eruption on the planet’s host star, an event observed by NASA’s Swift satellite. The stellar flare, which hit the planet like 3 million X-flares from our own sun, blasted material from the planet’s atmosphere at a rate of at least 1,000 tons per second.
“The multiwavelength coverage by Hubble and Swift has given us an unprecedented view of the interaction between a flare on an active star and the atmosphere of a giant planet,” said lead researcher Alain Lecavelier des Etangs at the Paris Institute of Astrophysics (IAP), part of the French National Scientific Research Center located at Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris.
Did you know that Space Center Houston offers over 250 things to see and do? Learn more about our exciting new events and exhibits on our What’s New page. Save five dollars off admission when you buy online!