(Mirror Daily, United States) – Hubble Space Telescope helped NASA scientists make a mysterious and surprising discovery. They managed to locate a pitch black planet, which exhibits an interesting behavior. Its appearance is so unusual since it captures 94 percent of the light which reaches it.
Scientists called the pitch black planet WASP-12b, and located it at a distance of 1,400 light-years from Earth. They described it as a hot Jupiter, since it is about as big as our gaseous giant, and it also made of gas. Also, its temperature is given by its position in close proximity to its star, which heats it.
Since it gets so hot, nothing can survive on the side of the planet which is closer to the star – or the day side. Therefore, it cannot form clouds. These are quite important, since they usually reflect the light of the star back into space. Since nothing protects it from extreme light, the giant absorbs it deep into its hydrogen atoms. This makes it turn into a pitch black planet, and convert the captured light into energy.
The pitch black planet absorbs all light which falls on it
Researchers were incredibly surprised to make such a discovery. This is not the first hot Jupiter to find, but it’s the first to be completely dark. The others usually reflect about 40 percent of the light. Also, other hot Jupiters are also quite black, but their temperatures are way lower than those on WASP-12b.
This pitch dark planet is also tidally locked, which means that one side of it is always on the day side, while the other is always on the night side. The phenomenon is explained by its close proximity to its star, where gravity does no longer have the same effect. Such an unusual situation also leads to great differences in temperature between the two sides of the planet.
Hubble’s discovery highlights the differences which can occur between hot Jupiters. There might be a gap of more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit between such two planets, and both of them might be described by the same name.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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