HD 80606b would not be a fun place to live, with its high winds, intense storms, and temperatures thousands of degrees hotter than any region on Earth. This exoplanet goes on a wild ride around its host star, with an orbit that takes it extremely close – and then extremely far away. This sends the planet through rapid heating and cooling cycles that astronomers are keenly studying to learn more about planetary atmospheres and climate patterns.
In this episode, we interviewed Dr. Drake Deming, a Goddard astronomer studying HD 80606b, about this extreme planet and what makes exoplanets so interesting and valuable to observe. Though it isn’t a friendly place, this extreme planet may be a step along the way to finding another world much like our own.
Exoplanets and HD 80606b
Scientists are on the hunt for planets orbiting stars besides our Sun – and they’re finding hundreds of them. There are a variety of methods for finding these other worlds. To learn more about exoplanets, and especially the exotic planet HD 80606b featured in this episode, check out these links:
- PlanetQuest is an all-around resource about exoplanets. The site features a current planet count, as well as an atlas of discovered planets and details about these discoveries.
- The Spitzer Space Telescope is an infrared telescope used for a variety of scientific observations – including the study of exoplanets. This satellite observed the dramatic climate of HD 80606b, the focus of this episode.
- The EPOCh (Extrasolar Planet Observations and Characterization) mission uses the Deep Impact satellite to make observations of exoplanets. The spacecraft was used to study a comet in 2005, but now its cameras are focused on other parts of the Universe.
- January 28, 2009: Astronomers Observe Planet With Wild Temperature Swings - the official NASA press release about this discovery, including data and visualizations.
- Life and Death is our May 2007 episode that included an interview with Dr. Jennifer Wiseman about the search for these other worlds.
|Theme Music||Naked Singularity|
|Website Support||Meredith Gibb
|Executive Producer||Anita Krishnamurthi|
|Responsible NASA Official||Kim Weaver|
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