Home > Space > Global Warming to an Extrasolar Extreme

Global Warming to an Extrasolar Extreme

January 29th, 2009. By Dave Oei. 3,282 views.
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars - Be the first to rate this article!
Loading ... Loading ...
Extreme global warming, far, far away.  Photo courtesy of NASA.

Extreme global warming, far, far away. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Most climate experts believe a 3 degree Fahrenheit increase in out planet’s temperature over the next 100 years would spell disaster. 10 degrees would be catastrophic. What about 1000 degrees?

Ursa Major.  Photo courtesy of Wikisky.org

Ursa Major. Photo courtesy of Wikisky.org

There’s a Jupiter-sized planet that orbits a star 190 light years away located in the constellation Ursa Major, or what most of us recognize as the Big Dipper.

The star is actually a binary – the two of which can been seen together with a good pair of binoculars on a clear night.  You can find it by first locating the Big Dipper, than seeking out the front knee of Ursa (the Bear).

Still lost?  Try Wikisky.org.  A web-based star/galaxy map with lots of great astronomic pictures.

While many of the recently discovered extrasolar gas giants orbit very close to their sun, this one follows a highly elliptic orbit.  As the furthest point from it’s sun, it’s about 1 AU away.  But at it’s closest, it’s about 0.03 AU.  Tie that in with a relatively quick orbit of just over 100 days, and the result is extreme global warming and extremely global cooling at very regular intervals.

What’s the significance?  By understanding heating and cooling patterns scientists can better understand how extrasolar planets absorb and shed heat.

Scientists reached these conclusions after observing the planet with the Spitzer space telescope.

Source: NASA.

Space

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Switch to our mobile site