Scientists have discovered a massive exoplanet that is hotter than most stars.
The recently discovered planet orbits a blue star that is 650 light years away from the Earth. In terms of size, this massive planet is three times larger than Jupiter. The planet’s close proximity to its star not only makes it extremely hot but gives it a rotational period of 1.5 days.
KELT-9b’s discovery is detailed in an article published in the scientific journal Nature.
Hotter Than Most Stars
Due to the planet’s close proximity to its star, which is nearly two times as hot as the sun, the planet is actually hotter than some stars that have been discovered.
The planet’s rotation ensures that one side is always locked in eternal night and the other on a blistering day where temperatures rise as high as 7,820 Farhenheight.
“It’s so hot that we think that there’s no molecules that can live on the day side of this planet,” says Scott Gaudi of Ohio State University. “Its day side would be very bright orange. Its night side would be very dark red. And it would have a cloud of evaporating hydrogen and helium, which would actually look violet”
The extreme heat of this nearby star means that the planet’s atmosphere is likely disappearing at a high rate. It’s possible that the atmosphere could be destroyed before the star dies. If so, all that would remain of the planet would be the planet’s core. However, scientists debate whether or not a planet of this type has a core, to begin with.
A similar debate occurred regarding the planet Jupiter. Scientists were divided as to the nature of Jupiter’s core with some arguing that it was rich in minerals and others theorizing that it was diffused. The recent Juno probe revealed that the truth was actually somewhere in the middle.
No Life, But Plenty Of Data
Obviously, this planet doesn’t hold life, but its discovery does provide a lot of data regarding stars and the nature of planets that orbit around them.
Until this discovery, there was some debate as to whether a planet such as KELT-9b could even exist due to the extreme amount of heat given off by the nearby star.
“For a long time, we went back and forth about whether or not this planet could be real,” says Gaudi.
The hottest stars that are known to support planets are known as A-type stars. KELT-9b’s star sits between A-type and the hotter B-type stars. Currently, no planets have been found orbiting blue stars, but the existence of KELT-9b proves it isn’t impossible.
Eric Brackett Tech Times editor Eric Brackett is a tech junkie and a gamer, covering science and technology. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter for updates and his random thoughts on the latest trends in gaming, tech, and comic books.