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Strange blue world: Hubble spies cobalt-hued planet (VIDEO)

Astronomers used the Hubble telescope to determine the true color of Planet HD189733b in a distant solar system, which is a deep cobalt blue.

Azure blue planet 2013 07-11Enlarge
An artist's impression of the cobalt blue world known as Planet HD189733b. (NASA, ESA, M. Kornmesser /Courtesy)

A cobalt blue planet that rains glass from the skies? Sideways?

It sounds like something out of a sci-fi novel, but NASA scientists say it's true, recently using the aging Hubble telescope to get a closer look at Planet HD189733b some 63 light years away.

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Scientists were able to determine the distant world's true color — the first time that's happened outside our solar system.

"This planet has been studied well in the past, both by ourselves and other teams," Hubble observing program leader Frédéric Pont of the UK"s University of Exeter said in a statement. "But measuring its color is a real first — we can actually imagine what this planet would look like if we were able to look at it directly."

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NASA described the planet's hue as a "deep cobalt blue," likely caused by the glassy hail that whips through the air on hypersonic winds.

Known as a "hot Jupiter" because of its proximity to its parent star, temperatures on Planet HD189733b get as high as 2,000 degrees F with winds gusting up to 4,500 mph.

Pretty crazy stuff. Just imagine what Hubble's replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, will be able to see.

Its launch date is still set for 2018.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/130711/strange-blue-world-hubble-spies-cobalt-hued-planet-video