‘HD 189733b’ may seem like an oasis surrounded by dead and hostile worlds if you ever steered your inter-galactic spaceship toward that part of constellation Vulpecula where this gorgeous blue planet hangs out. But whatever you do, don’t get tricked by its Earth-like appearance.
Located about 63 light years away from Earth, the HD 189733b is as hostile a planet with any resemblance — however superficial — to our tiny rocky world could possibly get. (You may as well call it the evil look-alike of Earth.)
For starters, the blue-ish appearance is just about the only thing in common between the two worlds. HD 189733b is much bigger than Earth. In fact, Jupiter which could fit 1321 Earths inside it is the closest thing we can find in our Solar System to match the size of this massive exoplanet.
Not just that, HD 189733b is also super-close to its parent star — so much so that a year on the planet is equivalent to just 2 Earth days. And because it is so close to the star, the planet is likely to be tidally locked, meaning one side of HD 189733b always faces its parent star while darkness prevails over the other half (kind of similar to how Mercury is tidally locked to the Sun, or the Moon is to Earth).
As for the weather, the winds on HD 189733b can blow as fast as 8,700 km per hour (5,400 miles per hour) — seven times faster than the speed of sound. For a better perspective, an AK-47 fires the 7.62×39mm cartridge at a muzzle velocity of 2550 km per hour or so.
Just in case that was not scary enough for you, take this: The rains on HD 189733b is made of molten glass, making even the worst of acid rains on Earth look like a total wuss.
“The cobalt blue color comes not from the reflection of a tropical ocean, as on Earth, but rather a hazy, blow-torched atmosphere containing high clouds laced with silicate particles,” NASA officials wrote in a statement.