Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Length of Alien Planet's 'Day' Clocked for 1st Time, an 8-Hour World

Artist’s Impression of the Planet Beta Pictoris b 

This artist’s view shows the planet orbiting the young star Beta Pictoris. This exoplanet is the first to have its rotation rate measured. Its eight-hour day corresponds to an equatorial rotation speed of 100,000 kilometers/hour — much faster than any planet in the Solar System. 

 Astronomers have measured the rotation rate of an alien planet for the first time ever, finding that a huge Jupiter-like world called Beta Pictoris b has a day lasting just eight hours.

The equator of Beta Pictoris b, a gas giant about 10 times more massive than Jupiter, is moving at about 62,000 mph (100,000 km/h), researchers said — far faster than that of any planet in our solar system. In fact, Beta Pictoris b is the fastest-spinning planet yet seen.

In comparison, Jupiter's equator is traveling at about 29,000 mph (47,000 km/h), while Earth's is moving at just 1,060 mph (1,700 km/h). Days on these two familiar planets last about 10 hours and 24 hours, respectively. [The Strangest Alien Planets (Gallery)]

For the rest of the story: http://www.space.com/25687-exoplanet-day-length-beta-pictoris-b.html

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