...and that’s not the strangest weather out there.
The weather on Earth can be bizarre and destructive, but it does not even compare to what was found on exoplanet HD 189733b. Located in the Vulpecula constellation, the planet lives about 63 light-years away. This is not a trip anyone can make in a lifetime, but if you somehow made it to HD 198733b, you would want to turn back immediately.
The results of an investigation into this exoplanet found wind speeds reaching over 5400 mph, which is nearly 20 times faster than any wind ever recorded on Earth. The strongest surface wind speed ever recorded on Earth was 318 mph during a tornado in Oklahoma City on May 3, 1999.
Scientists have agreed that this planet probably does not have any signs of life. Along with the extremely fast winds, it is very hot with temperatures exceeding 3272 degrees Fahrenheit. Not very hospitable.
This was the first time that scientists had mapped the weather on a planet outside of our solar system. But with the development of technology which may allow for future colonization of planets, it is also useful to know what weather the other planets in our solar system have to offer.
The planet Mercury does not have an atmosphere, so it does not get any weather such as rain, clouds or wind. However, it does host daytime temperatures of 800 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures of minus 279 degrees Fahrenheit.
Venus on the other hand has a very thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide and clouds made of sulfuric acid. Due to its nearly constant temperature of 900 degrees Fahrenheit over the entire planet, the winds remain relatively constant. But unlike anything we see on our home planet, it rains sulfuric acid and snows metal.
Mars has a thinner atmosphere than Earth, but it is an atmosphere that is able to support weather such as clouds, precipitation and wind. Giant dust storms are common on Mars, and are known to cover the entire planet and last for months. It also snows carbon dioxide and temperatures range from minus 195 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, so it is expected to have the biggest storms. Jupiter’s immense atmosphere supports winds as strong as 224 mph, powering storms that are thousands of kilometers in size and last for hundreds of years. The planet has an average temperature of minus 234 degrees Fahrenheit and an atmosphere so dense and compressive that it can form diamonds.
Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and currently contains a strong electrical storm with lightning that is 10,000 times stronger than what we experience here on Earth. Saturn has an average temperature of minus 288 degrees Fahrenheit, storms thousands of kilometers across, winds as high as 1000 mph and it rains compressed carbon in the form of graphite and, closer to the core, diamonds.
Uranus is very, very cold. It has one of the coldest atmospheres in our entire solar system averaging at minus 360 degrees Fahrenheit. The weather on Uranus is a bit different than other planets because Uranus is tilted on its side, but like Earth, it has four seasons — just four really long seasons. Each season lasts 21 years, and the planet has large storms and hurricanes with winds speeds up to 560 mph.
We saved the best for last. Neptune has some of the most violent weather in the entire solar system with winds up to 1500 mph and giant storms thousands of miles across. It also has an average temperature of minus 360 degrees Fahrenheit, and due to its strong atmospheric pressure, it rains diamonds just like Jupiter and Saturn.
Since Earth is on track to be the next Venus, our options in our solar system are certainly limited. I think we can all agree that if humans have to colonize a new planet in our solar system, it should definitely be Mars.