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01.22.18

"Wrong-way" Winds on CoRoT-2b

This illustration depicts the strange case of the backwards hotspot researchers have found on the hot exoplanet known as CoRoT-2b. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has played an instrumental role in mapping out the temperature distributions of a handful of closely-orbiting worlds knows as hot Jupiters. In most cases, the hottest spot on the planet is found to be either at the point directly facing the near-by star or offset eastward by strong winds.

In the mysterious case of exoplanet CoRoT-2b, however, the hot spot turns out to lie in the opposite direction: west of center. There are currently a number of ideas that could explain this strangely offset hot spot, including mechanisms that make the winds blow opposite the way they do in other known planets of this type.