Hubble observes pitch black planet that is darker than Asphalt

Hubble observes exoplanet so dark that it absorbs 94 percent of the visible starlight that falls on it

Hubble observes exoplanet so dark that it absorbs 94 percent of the visible starlight that falls on it

Dubbed a "hot Jupiter" in Thursday press releases by both NASA and ESA's Hubble Space Telescope website, the exoplanet known as WASP-12b was first discovered in 2008. Scientists revealed that the WASP-did not show any color preference and looked like a red hot glowing planet because of excess heat. Its appearance is so unusual since it captures 94 percent of the light which reaches it. These are quite important, since they usually reflect the light of the star back into space.

According to the astronomers, WASP-12b is only the second planet to have spectrally resolved albedo measurements, the first being HD 189733b, another hot Jupiter. At a distance of just 3.4 million km (2.115 million mi), or 0.0229 AU, it takes a little over a day to complete a single orbit.

The statement from NASA follows below.

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Due to the particular nature of its atmosphere, which absorbs the vast majority of light it receives instead of reflecting it, this planet appeared pitch black when observed by the Hubble team. The researchers compared the results for WASP-12b to exoplanet HD 189733b, and found that it reflects an azure blue color like Earth. Researchers have theorized that the planet's close proximity to its star could be responsible. Therefore, it can not form clouds.

"We did not expect to find such a dark exoplanet", said Taylor Bell of McGill University and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, lead researcher of the Hubble study. It's also not the darkest known exoplanet - that award goes to TrES-2b, another hot Jupiter, which has an albedo of 0.0136.

But the planet's nighttime side is a different story.

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The planet is tidally locked to the host star, which means one side experiences a perpetual daylight while the other side is stuck in a neverending night.

Back in 2013, scientists working with the HST detected traces of water vapor in the atmosphere (and possible traces of clouds as well) while studying the day/night boundary. It circles a Sun-like star residing 1,400 light-years away in the constellation Auriga. "This previous research suggests that more heat is being pumped into the day side of the planet, but the processes, such as winds, that carry the heat to the night side of the planet don't keep up the pace".

Only the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to carry out such huge measurements.

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This allowed scientists to see exactly how much light the world reflected, giving them a sense of what its atmosphere is made of. However, their observations did not detect reflected light, which indicated that the sun-facing side was absorbing most of the light it was receiving. The only difference being the other one is way cooler than WASP-12b.The planet is more like a star rather than a planet as each n every such planet that the scientists came across had hydrogen and helium as the main components. The findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Also, it increased the surface temperature of WASP-12b up to 2600 degrees Celsius during the daylight. Its atmosphere it so hot that it starts to mimic the atmosphere of a small star.

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