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News Release 85 of 1040

October 9, 2014 02:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2014-28

Hubble Maps the Temperature and Water Vapor on an Extreme Exoplanet

October 9, 2014: Located 260 light-years away, exoplanet WASP-43b is no place to call home. It is a world of extremes, where seething winds howl at the speed of sound from a 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit day side, hot enough to melt steel, to a pitch-black night side with plunging temperatures below 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The Hubble Space Telescope has been used to make the most detailed global map yet of the thermal glow from this turbulent world. The astronomers were also able to map temperatures at different layers of the world's atmosphere and traced the amount and distribution of water vapor. The Jupiter-sized planet lies so close to its orange dwarf host star that it completes an orbit in just 19 hours. The planet is also gravitationally locked so that it keeps one hemisphere facing the star.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Stevenson, L. Kreidberg, and J. Bean (University of Chicago)