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Space & Astronomy

Planet is so hot that even metal evaporates

August 16, 2018 | Comment icon 5 comments



The planet is extraordinarily hot. Image Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Bacon, STScI
The extrasolar planet known as Kelt-9b is so hot that its atmosphere contains vaporized iron and titanium.
The hellish world, which is situated 650 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, is 30 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun and sees surface temperatures exceeding 4,000C.

The planet was recently observed by a team of astronomers who used the Galileo National Telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands to view it as it passed in front of its host star.

"The temperatures are so insane that even though it is a planet it has the atmosphere of a star," said study co-author Professor Kevin Heng from the University of Bern.
"The main lesson that exoplanets are teaching us is that we can't just look in the solar system."

"There are really weird things out there."

While this particular planet is probably one of the worst possible places to look for evidence of life, the techniques used to observe it will certainly play an important role in seeking out life on other worlds.

"These hot planets are a testing ground for techniques that we will use when the really interesting planets start to show up over the next few years," said Heng.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (5)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 4 years ago
So how hot is this Planet's sun?  Seeing our yellow sun, per the article, is 6000°C, its sun must be a blue-white star.  Even if you could stand the temperature, you couldn't put on enough sunblock to keep the UV from frying you.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Antnanna 4 years ago
Call me astronomically naive. But how can we be sure that what we observe or feel we observe in our solar system, is the same in all? How can we be sure there are not other elements we know nothing about that share a similar visual characteristic?
Comment icon #3 Posted by Rolci 4 years ago
I remember back in the day watching the Discovery documentary How the Universe Works and there was a whole episode on Hot Jupiters, which were discovered all the way back in the '90s I think. So what's new here? As for the possibility of "other elements" in distant parts of the universe, try stretching it a bit, notice that you're still thinking in terms of elements. How about different laws of physics? Who said that for example what they like to call "universal constants" are constant let alone universal (across space, let alone time). And then you can have the same argument regarding "laws" ... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Rlyeh 4 years ago
And chemically naive. You should find out what an element is.
Comment icon #5 Posted by taniwha 4 years ago
The nightside of the planet never sees the daylight but is still perhaps a whopping 2000 degrees Celsius!  But that's not hot enough to melt tungsten, if indeed any exists there.


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