News

Why we aren’t relocating to a planet where it rains sapphire and rubies

April 30, 2018

Boy, it sure would make our job a lot easier if we were headquartered on HAT-P-7b: a super-hot planet 16x larger than Earth that sits in the Cygnus constellation about 1,100 light-years away. It rains sapphire and rubies on HAT-P-7b. We manufacture numerous precision sapphire components, including sapphire windows, so it would certainly reduce our overhead if one of our most important raw materials rained down from the sky.

Other characteristics of life on HAT-P-7b might interfere with our operation, however… For one, the temperature averages about 4500 degrees—an obvious improvement over Minnesota, but still a tad balmy. Tax season would also come more frequently as well. One year elapses every 2.2 “Earth days” as HAT-P-7b zips around its sun.

Perhaps most importantly, HAT-P-7b is tidally locked, meaning it does not spin like Earth. One side always faces the sun, one side always faces away from the sun. This situation creates constant, catastrophic storms as weather systems form on the dark side of the planet, rush to the light side, and then evaporate. OSHA might have something to say about the safety of working in a non-stop hurricane with thousand-mile-an-hour winds. Especially when sapphire and rubies are flying through it.

Why are there sapphire and rubies on HAT-P-7b? The atmosphere is made of a crystalline form of aluminium oxide called corundum, a mineral that can turn into two things, sapphire or rubies, depending on the balance of elements. Corundum generally contains some mix of iron, titanium, vanadium and chromium. More chromium, it becomes a ruby. Less chromium, it becomes sapphire. When conditions are right, the corundum condenses, like vapor does in clouds, and falls back to earth in gem-form, either as a ruby or a sapphire.

Perhaps the most compelling reason we aren’t going to relocate to planet where it rains sapphire and rubies? We love our location and our community right here in Litchfield, Minnesota. We have strong roots here and we’re staying for the long haul — so we will just have to continue to obtain our sapphire the old-fashioned way.

About IRD Glass

IRD Glass manufactures numerous sapphire components, including precision sapphire windows. Our skilled engineers and our state-of-the-art precision sapphire machining equipment allow us to produce custom sapphire windows up to 8” in diameter, making us a single-source supplier for industry-leading companies like Honeywell. Our engineers achieve superior results, exemplary parallelism, and typical flatness of 1/4 wave up to 1/10 wave flatness, while also reducing cycle time, reducing variations, and eliminating defects and waste.

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