(ORDO NEWS) — The blackest planet in the observable Universe was discovered by the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope. A hot gas ball or “hot Jupiter” called HD 149026b, has a temperature of about 2040 degrees Celsius, which is about 3 times higher than on the rocky surface of Venus – the hottest planet in the solar system. It is so hot that astronomers believe that this celestial body absorbs almost all the heat from its star and reflects very little light. Objects that do not reflect sunlight are black.
Therefore, HD 149026b may be not only the blackest known planet in the Universe, but also the hottest.
Exoplanets are planets orbiting other stars. Recent studies have shown that black planets (hot Jupiters) exist.
Another black Jupiter TrES-2b, the temperature at which can reach 980 degrees Celsius, was discovered in 2011 using the NASA Kepler space telescope. Rotating just 4 million kilometers from its star, a gas giant almost does not reflect sunlight. If you could see TrES-2b close up, it would look almost like a black gas ball with a slight red tint – a real exotic among exoplanets.
Let me remind you that the Kepler spacecraft, revolving around the Earth, was specially designed to search for planets outside our solar system. However, at such distances — and TrES-2b is 750 light-years from Earth — it’s not as simple as photographing the Moon or Mars. Using light sensors called photometers that continuously monitor the light of tens of thousands of stars, Kepler looks for regular dimming of stars.
Such dips in brightness may indicate that a planet passes in front of the star, relative to the Earth, blocking part of the star’s light.
According to National Geographic, when a planet passes in front of its star, its shaded side faces Kepler. But when the planet begins to rotate to the side and “behind” its star, its side facing the sun is facing the viewer. The amount of starlight increases until the planet, becoming invisible to the space telescope, completely passes behind its star.
Modern computer models predict that hot gas giants that spin very close to their stars can only be as dark as Mercury, which reflects about 10 percent of the sunlight that hits it. But TrES-2b is so dark that it reflects only one percent of the starlight that reaches its surface. This means that current models may need to be reviewed. But what makes these exoplanets black?
The answer to this question probably lies in a slightly different approach – namely, the Spitzer infrared telescope, which was able to measure the radiation emanating from HD 149026b. It is noteworthy that the hot Jupiter HD 149026b is considered a tidal planet, so one side of it is constantly affected by the rays of its star. Astronomers believe that this black planet is probably very hot on the sunlit side and much colder on the dark.
As stated on the official website of NASA, in the past this phenomenon was observed by the space telescope on the planet Upsilon Andromedae B. In the case of both planets, the heat is not distributed evenly over the surfaces.
This is the opposite of what happens on Jupiter, where the temperature difference is minimal. HD 149026b is located 256 light-years away in the constellation Hercules and is the smallest known transit planet, the size of which is close to the size of Saturn, and the core is supposedly dense and 70-90 times the mass of the Earth. The planet revolves around its star every 2.9 days.
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