Always the same, isn't it?
NASA has mapped the "cloud" structure of an alien world for the first time using its Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes, an early step towards finding planets with human-compatible atmospheres. Partially Cloudy Skies on Kepler-7b Kepler-7b (L), which is 1.5 times the radius of Jupiter (R), has its clouds mapped by Kepler …
The stable cloud patter might be due to some form of tidal locking of the planet, so the same side always faces the star, but maybe that does not work on "hot Jupiters" as they are known (I thought Jupiter was always hot (or should that be "had the hots", given his mythological exploits with the opposite sex).
Tidally locked planets with atmospheres would seem to be likely to have more extreme wind patterns than those rotating freely, due to a greater difference in temperature between the night and day sides. "Normal" cloud layers won't hang around long in that sort of environment.
If I had to hazard a guess, my money would be on this being a superstorm substantially bigger than the red spot. World-sized glass-filled ultrahurricanes, anyone?
According to Wikipedia the first exo planet was found in 1995.
18 years ago.
In less that 2 decades we've gone from "We think they're planets orbiting other suns" to "Here's our current list, with the Earth like ones marked. We'll send you copies of the first pictures later."
It's a pretty long way.
Where will have got to in 2028?
The thing is that those planets discovered by Kepler are only those on a tiny portion of the visible sky, and only those where the planet orbits are angled in just the right way that we can detect them. So that means that we've only just started looking in 0.25 percent of the sky.
There's a long, long way we can go yet.
The most impressive thing about the page you linked to, and also about the similar 10 biggest Wikipedia hoaxes is that they are so spectacularly dull. Most of them are uninteresting falsehoods about slebs I've never heard of. Apparently Wikipedia said somebody called Sinbad was dead when he wasn't. I thought Sinbad was a fictional character in The 1001 Nights.
I love the skeleton key item, though. It's tantalisingly plausible, but you feel it's probably a hoax.
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