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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Supersonic Winds Rip Alien World
23 June 2010 1:37 pm
Hurricane Katrina would be regarded as a gentle breeze on HD 209458b. The giant planet, located about 150 light-years away in the constellation Pegasus, is a hot Jupiter—nearly as big as our own gas giant, but orbiting very close to its parent star. Like Mercury and our moon, the planet is tidally locked, meaning it always shows the same face to its sun. As a result, HD 209458b's dayside surface temperature never dips below 1000˚C, while its night side temperatures are hundreds of degrees cooler. Such a large temperature gradient generates eye-popping wind speeds. How fast? By carefully analyzing the spectra of starlight streaming through its atmosphere when the planet passes in front of its star, researchers report online today in Nature that HD 209458b generates winds of toxic carbon monoxide reaching 7000 kilometers per hour. That's twice as fast as any aircraft has ever flown—not that anyone would want to fly across this world.
See more ScienceShots.