We’ve seen stories about falling glass and unexpected glass breakage, but the Hubble Telescope has captured something we’ve never contemplated: glass rain. University of Arizona astronomers were gazing upon a relatively new exoplanet about 160 light years from Earth. The exoplanet, 2M1207b, is huge – between four and five times the size of Jupiter.
Atmosphere generates liquid glass
Like Jupiter, 2M1207b is a gaseous planet. It’s unimaginably hot – somewhere between 2,200° F and 2,600° F to be exact (or as exact as you can be from this distance.) The good news is that it rains on 2M1207b. The bad news is that the average rainstorm lays down molten iron in the lower atmosphere. In the upper atmosphere, a rainstorm generates glass.
2M1207b is actually the first exoplanet to have been imaged directly by the Hubble Space Telescope. The initial images of the planet were taken in 2004 and it’s been studied ever since. The planet is giving off so much heat because it’s so new; it’s still contracting, and will likely do so for millions of years. Astronomers point out that Jupiter and Saturn are still contracting, even though they are much older than 2M1207b. The fact that it is throwing so much heat also makes it easier to see and study.
NASA has found more than 2,000 exoplanets using the Hubble Telescope. In addition to being the first directly imaged exoplanet, it was also the first exoplanet found orbiting a brown dwarf – a type of failed star.
No one’s going to be calling 2M1207b home anytime soon, but exoplanets like this give astronomers some clues about what may have happened during the formation of our own planet and solar system.
Fortunately, we have much better control over glass production here at home than what you’ll find on 2M1207b. Decorating with glass is also much easier with Glassprimer™ glass paint. Glassprimer™ glass paint is designed to make a permanent bond with glass surfaces, and offers superior UV protection for at least 10 years.
No umbrella in the world will help you with the glass storms on 2M1207b, but if you’re looking for ways to decorate with glass here on Earth, please visit the rest of our site. If you’d like to purchase Glassprimer™ glass paint, please visit our online store .
Photo Credit: European Southern Observatory