Wait, there are clouds in space and that too beyond the solar system? My dear ignorant reader, yes there is a lot of things in space that we discover every passing day. Some dumbfound us other’s make us look silly to begin with. This topic induces either of the emotions depending on the kind of science freak you are.
Before we go any further, let us explain what we mean by extra-solar system clouds…
Planets outside the solar system of ours, revolving around distant stars and their atmosphere is what this article is all about. Yup, not those stellar clouds or anything but actual planetary clouds. Nevertheless, just imagining standing on the surface of a planet whose sky has clouds shining red and bright red because of all the suspended ruby and sapphire is simply breath-taking, isn’t it?
Okay, coming back to the topic, there is this planet that scientists have discovered in a distant star system that has clouds with violent winds but the clouds are made from corundum – a direct building block for sapphire and ruby.
While it sounds impressive, unfortunately for corundum to exist as it does, the atmosphere has to maintain a whopping 2,500-degree centigrade temperature! Basically, the sapphire and ruby on that planet is in the form vapors so not valuable as a gemstone unless you capture some of it in a jar and let it settle down! The other ingredients of the planet HAT-P-7b though are unknown. What is known however is that the planet rests about 1,000 light years away and is nearly 500 times the size of Earth. Such sized planets are known as hot jupiters.
By the way, the findings are not concrete by any means. According to the four-year study conducted by scientists, either the clouds on the planet are corundum or perovskite. The latter would really be helpful since it is what makes solar cells on earth.
Even though we have yet to mine the closest planets to us, or the moon or the comets, it sure is fun imagining a spaceship in the distant future docked of HAT-P-7b siphoning off boat loads of ruby, sapphire and that solar cell stuff too.