Hellish Planet So Hot Even Metal Evaporates
The extrasolar planet known as Kelt-9b is so hot that its atmosphere contains vaporized iron and titanium.
The hellish world, which is situated 650 light years away in the constellation Cygnus, is 30 times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun and sees surface temperatures exceeding 4,000C.
The planet was recently observed by a team of astronomers who used the Galileo National Telescope in La Palma, Canary Islands to view it as it passed in front of its host star.
“The temperatures are so insane that even though it is a planet it has the atmosphere of a star,” said study co-author Professor Kevin Heng from the University of Bern.
“The main lesson that exoplanets are teaching us is that we can’t just look in the solar system.”
“There are really weird things out there.”
While this particular planet is probably one of the worst possible places to look for evidence of life, the techniques used to observe it will certainly play an important role in seeking out life on other worlds.
“These hot planets are a testing ground for techniques that we will use when the really interesting planets start to show up over the next few years,” said Heng.