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Newly Discovered Exoplanet KELT-9b Is 'Hotter Than Most Stars'

Jun 06, 2017 07:37 AM EDT
Astronomers Find Planet Hotter Than Most Stars
Astronomers discovered an exoplanet that's hotter than most stars. It is found in the constellation Cygnus.
(Photo : NASA JPL-Caltech/10 Minutes/YouTube Screenshot)

There's an exoplanet believed to be hotter than most stars, which was discovered by an international team led by astronomers from Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities.

The said star is like a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a host star every day and a half and is believed to be superheated, hotter than most stars with a glowing gas tail trailing behind it like that of a comet. The astronomers call it KELT-9b discovered 650 light-years away from Earth located in the constellation Cygnus.

The newly discovered exoplanet that is hotter than most stars was described in a paper entitled "A giant undergoing extreme-ultraviolet irradiation by its hot massive-star host" published in the journal Nature during the American Astronomical Society presentation in Austin, Texas.

The exoplanet that is hotter than most star has a day-side temperature with a peak of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit). Reports say that most stars are only about 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 Fahrenheit), a temperature considered cooler than the Earth's sun.

Reports say that the brutal ultraviolet radiation from its host star causes the newly discovered exoplanet that's hotter than most stars to literally evaporate, causing the glowing comet-like gas tail. Aside from its unbelievable temperature, the exoplanet -- considered hotter than most stars -- is also a gas giant like Jupiter but more massive. It' 2.8 times bigger than Jupiter to be exact. But it is only half as dense due to the brutal radiation from its host star causing its atmosphere to evaporate or puff like a balloon.

"It's a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we've ever seen just because of the temperature of its day side," Scott Gaudi, professor of astronomy at The Ohio State University and lead authors of the study said in a statement.

One reason why the exoplanet is hotter than most stars is that its star is twice as large and twice as hot as the Earth's sun. Therefore, it produces more ultraviolet radiation. Astronomers also think that if the planet has some solid rocky core, it may turn into a barren rock like Mercury due to heat.

Another interesting discovery is that the exoplanet orbits too close to the star. This means that if the star expands, it may completely engulf the exoplanet. This makes the future of the newly discovered exoplanet that's hotter than most stars a little unfortunate.

"KELT-9 will swell to become a red giant star in about a billion years," co-author Keivan Stassun, professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt, said in a statement. "The long-term prospects for life, or real estate for that matter, on KELT-9b are not looking good."

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