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Darkest known exoplanet: Exoplanets better as collectibles than homes for life?

This Jupiter-sized world reflects less than one percent of the light that falls on it/David A. Aguilar (CfA)

From “Darkest Known Exoplanet: Alien World Is Blacker Than Coal” (ScienceDaily (Aug. 12, 2011) we learn:

Astronomers have discovered the darkest known exoplanet — a distant, Jupiter-sized gas giant known as TrES-2b. Their measurements show that TrES-2b reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it, making it blacker than coal or any planet or moon in our solar system.

“It’s not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark,” stated co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University. “However, it’s not completely pitch black. It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.”

Cool. No, hot. But seriously,

TrES-2b orbits its star at a distance of only five million kilometres. The star’s intense light heats TrES-2b to a temperature of more than 1000 degrees Celsius — much too hot for ammonia clouds. Instead, its exotic atmosphere contains light-absorbing chemicals like vaporized sodium and potassium, or gaseous titanium oxide. Yet none of these chemicals fully explain the extreme blackness of TrES-2b.

Ah, someone’s PhD thesis.

Exoplanets are fun, released from crackpot claims about space aliens.

Note: UD News staff are still looking for the Arcoroc Rosaline punch bowl, circa late Eighties. It may never have been made.


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