Cloudy With a Chance of Molten Balls: Meet COROT-7b

180px-Artist’s_impression_of_Corot-7b_200px-Cloudy_with_a_Chance_of_Meatballs_(book)Talk about global warming. Astronomers have located a bizarre planet named COROT-7b where rocks form in clouds and fall to the ground — which is so hot that it melts rocks.

As on Earth, finding the right place on COROT-7b is all about “location, location, location.” The orange dwarf star is in the constellation Monoceros and is about twice the size of Earth. However, it is 23 times closer to its Sun, resulting in fantastic temperatures. Because it is gravitationally locked, it does not rotate — resulting in one side remaining in the darkness at 50 degrees above absolute zero. Absolute zero is −459.67° on the Fahrenheit scale so the temperature on the dark side is a chilling -409°.

That, however, is still better than the balmy side, which reaches 2,800C. That is a bit over what we would consider tropical. More like hellish.

18cloudy-600What is most interesting is the rain. Due to the high temperature, the rock surface melts into a molten soup. When “cold fronts” move in, the rocky vapor turns to small stones and pebbles in the clouds and fall to the ground and “lava oceans.”

When Willard Scott has nightmares, this is the place he dreams about: “Well, Corotians, it will be another muggy day with a chance of stone showers. Remember to wear your sunblock SPF 5000.”

For the full story, click here.

11 thoughts on “Cloudy With a Chance of Molten Balls: Meet COROT-7b”

  1. pardon me?

    Pouring Hot Chocolate for several straight hours at a football games does not comport in my vocabulary. Pouring straight shots for several straight hours (at the beginning) I know. Generally after about the 15th of 16th I was unsure of the score and did not really care at that point as I was no longer straight. Slumped over was more accurate, needing guidance other than law enforcement was always easier the next morning.

    I am pleased that ya’ll won. Friday Night Football no place plays Football like Texans do.

  2. Good day and happy weekend!

    I poured hot chocolate for several hours straight last night at the concession stand. We won and the band rocked.

  3. I forgot to mention, this place is probably a perpetual earthquake too given the continuous off gassing of rock from one set of tectonic plates and the precipitation on the opposite set of plates. This would probably create great geological stresses and the normal plate slide/subduction/collision model would be altered by the addition of mass literally coming out of thin air.

  4. COROT-7b is tidally locked meaning it has one side facing the star at all times. It doesn’t have ordinary hot and cold fronts like Earth. A large part of how our atmosphere “gains motion” isn’t just heating from the sun but the Earth’s rotation. Because the Earth rotates and the heating is uneven, cells of air with differing temperature arise and we see fronts when they move and interact. The atmosphere of COROT-7b probably acts more like a convection oven with a nearly continuous air flow that rises on the hot day side, goes up until it reaches the outer edge of the atmosphere and then over the air on the dark side to cool and precipitate rocks while forcing colder air at ground level back toward the day side. However, the biggest (likely only) atmospheric frontal boundary would be the entire terminator and is probably a perpetual storm. But there wouldn’t be multiple hot and cold fronts like we are familiar with on Earth. Just the two. The really really big two. But you only need two distinct zones of temperature to set up convection.

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