Thursday, October 01, 2009
COROT-7b is the first rocky (as opposed to gaseous) exoplanet discovered. Five times the mass of Earth, it is locked with the same face always toward its (very close) star. That side maintains a constant temperature over 2,000 degrees Centigrade. The result? The atmosphere is full of what might be called "vaporized stone" and a weather front might cause it to "rain" aggregations of that stone - in other worlds, rocks developing the way hailstones do on Earth and falling from the sky.