Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Extreme Exoplanets

Astronomy is so cool!  There's no other way to describe it.  It is simply awesome!  I've written about exoplanets several times on this blog.  Every week or so it seems there is new exciting news regarding the discovery of new exoplanets or new information on previously discovered exoplanets.  An exoplanet is a planet outside of our Solar System orbiting another star.  The first exoplanet was discovered in the 1990s and as of this writing there are now 3,610 officially confirmed exoplanets discovered.  There are billions and billions of exoplanets in the Milk Way Galaxy, but just a few thousand that are officially known.  Those numbers have exploded in recent years and will continue to grow.  In addition to finding these exoplanets, astronomers are learning more and more about specific exoplanets.  One of the more recent discoveries is an exoplanet that is hotter than most stars!

Extreme exoplanet: Astronomers discover alien world hotter than most stars

This planet has a surface temperature of 4,600 Kelvin.  Wow!  The Sun's surface temperature is about 5,800 K.  This planet is cooler than the Sun, but the Sun is larger and hotter than most stars, so this planet is actually hotter than most stars.  Again, wow!  This planet is a few times the size of Jupiter and orbits a very hot star, which partly explains why the surface temperature is so hot.  The planet is also tidally locked to the star, meaning one side of the planet is always facing the star.  This contributes to the higher temperature.

What will astronomy discover next week?  Who knows, but it could be anything and that's what makes astronomy so exciting!

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