Life in Rural Kyrgyzstan
World|science|June 6, 2017 / 05:07 PM
Newly discovered exoplanet is 'hotter than most stars'

AKIPRESS.COM - Scientists have found a hellish world where the "surface" of the planet is over 4,000C - almost as hot as our Sun, BBC News reported.

In part, that’s because KELT-9b’s host star is itself very hot, but also because this alien world resides so close to the furnace. KELT-9b takes just two days to complete one orbit of the star.

Being so close means the planet cannot exist for very long - the gases in its atmosphere are being blasted with radiation and lost to space. Researchers say it may look a little like a comet as it circles the star from pole to pole - another strange aspect of this discovery.

News of KELT-9b is reported in the journal Nature. Its highly unusual properties were also presented on Monday to the spring meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Austin, Texas.

The planet is tidally locked to its star, meaning it always presents the same face - just as our Moon never shows its far side to Earth. This raises the temperature on the "day side" of KELT-9b to over 4,300C - hotter than the surface of the average Red Dwarf star, by far the most common type of star in the Milky Way.

The host star - known by the simple designation of KELT-9 - is radiating so much ultraviolet light that it may completely erode the planet's atmosphere.

If KELT-9b possesses a rocky core, this could be laid bare eventually, but a more likely end scenario is that the planet will be engulfed by the star.

This star is what's termed an A-type object. These stars burn brilliant but brief lives. They exist for just millions of years rather than the billions of years that our Sun is expected to persist. So it may not be long before KELT-9 puffs up as it exhausts its fuel and eats the planet.

The discovery was made using a robotic telescope system that uses high-end - but standard - camera telephoto lenses attached to scientific grade detectors.


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