Jun 5, 2017

Hottest planet found yet has a temperature of 7800 degrees

NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC)

Scientists have discovered the hottest giant exoplanet yet. With a mass similar to Jupiter, the newly found planet has a temperature of about 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to break the bonds between atoms in its atmosphere, and is bombarded by extreme-ultraviolet radiation from its host star.

Sound smart: Extreme-ultraviolet radiation is wavelengths shorter than 91.2 nanometers.

Why it matters: Thousands of planets have been observed around stars beyond our solar system, but this is just the sixth around a hot, A-type star. In this case, it's the massive KELT-9, which is almost twice as hot as our sun (at nearly 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit). Most researchers focus on searching for cooler planets that could, in theory, harbor life, but studying the hot giants will help to hone our understanding of the limits for planetary formation and evolution.

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