Distant Weather

By Mike Deliman

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has made the first measurements of
the day and night temperatures of a planet outside our solar system.
The infrared observatory revealed that the Jupiter-like gas giant
planet circling very close to its sun is always as hot as fire on one
side, and potentially as cold as ice on the other.

"This planet has a giant hot spot in the hemisphere that faces the
star," said Dr. Joe Harrington of the University of Central Florida,
Orlando, lead author of a paper appearing online today in Science. "The
temperature difference between the day and night sides tells about how
energy flows in the planet’s atmosphere. Essentially, we’re studying
weather on an exotic planet."

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