470 light years away, a planet ‘darker than charcoal’


A planet found in 2014 could be the darkest celestial physique ever discovered, say researchers within the astrophysics group at Keele College, UK.

Named WASP-104b, the planet absorbs 97-99% of the starlight that hits its floor. The researchers recommend WASP-104b is even darker than charcoal and that it may be among the many top-three darkest planets. It’s so darkish that the researchers can not really see the planet. They’ve steered that it’s most likely a glowing purplish ember, in response to a report in phys.org.

Researchers used information from NASA’s Kepler house telescope — “the K2 short-cadence information from Marketing campaign 14” — to detect “phase-curve modulation within the gentle curve of the hot-Jupiter host star WASP-104.”

Sizzling Jupiters are a category of fuel giants which have a mass much like Jupiter and keep shut and orbit their stars in lower than 10 days. They’re additionally comparatively darkish and most mirror 40% of starlight that reaches them. WASP-104b is tidally locked — one facet all the time faces the star, the opposite facet is colder and darker.

The analysis paper, not too long ago uploaded to a tutorial preprint, says that the planet is “one of many least-reflective planets discovered so far”. The paper means that the planet’s reflective clouds have burnt off on account of excessive proximity to its sizzling star and “guidelines out any extremely reflective clouds” in WASP-104B’s environment.

The paper means that that is in step with theoretical atmospheric fashions that recommend that the hazy layer across the planet is thick with atomic sodium and potassium that take up all gentle round it. In different phrases, the space between the planet and its star is a vital think about how darkish it’s.

The brand new discovering provides to darkish planets which have been found beforehand. For example, the paper notes: “TrES-2b is considered one of only a few sizzling Jupiters a minimum of as darkish as WASP-104b.” Found in 2011, TrES-2b orbits roughly three million miles from its sizzling star, reflecting lower than 1% of any gentle that hits it.

“This is without doubt one of the darkest planets ever found — reflecting little or no gentle from its host star,” PTI quoted Teo Mocnik, who led the analysis. “WASP-104b is attention-grabbing as a result of it was not even seen,” he stated. “When analysing the extremely exact photometric information from Kepler, we had been stunned to not see mirrored starlight from WASP-104b.” The planet orbits a yellow dwarf star some 470 gentle years away from Earth.

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Jeh Kumar is a veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals.


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