National Post (Latest Edition)

Planet ‘most extreme’ ever found

-

As the study of planets outside our solar system continues, astronomer­s have discovered what they have described as the ‘ most extreme planet’ ever observed, with surface temperatur­es more blistering than those of some stars.

Researcher­s at the University of Bern say that the exoplanet, dubbed WASP-189B, is a gaseous giant 1.6 times larger than Jupiter and can record temperatur­es of up to 3,200 C, hot enough to melt all rocks and metal and turn them into gaseous form.

The planet, they said, orbits the star HD 133112, known to be one of the hottest stars with a planetary system 2,000 C hotter than our sun.

Despite being an enormous gaseous giant, WASP189b is situated much closer to its star than Jupiter is to the sun, and so only take 2.7 days to orbit its star, with one side experienci­ng a permanent ‘ night’ and the other a permanent ‘day’.

“WASP-189B is especially interestin­g because it is a gas giant that orbits very close to its host star,” astrophysi­cist Monika Lendl said, according to the university’s press release. “It takes less than three days for it to circle its star, and it is 20 times closer to it than Earth is to the Sun.”

The exoplanet is located 326 light years away and much too close to its star to be able to observe it directly. Researcher­s used the Characteri­sing Exoplanet Satellite ( CHEOPS) space telescope, owned by the European Space Agency to be able to record high precise brightness measuremen­ts detecting the planet’s movements.

By observing the exoplanet’s occultatio­ns — passing behind the star — and transits — passing in front of the star — scientists gathered data on the brightness, size, temperatur­e and movements of the planet, as well as some informatio­n on the star it orbits.

Lendi called the planet an “ultrahot Jupiter,” on which the burning temperatur­es are so high that they can melt iron and turn it into a gas. While the planet is not as hot as the Sun, which burns at a temperatur­e of 6,000 C, researcher­s say the observed temperatur­es match those found on some small dwarf stars.

“Only a handful of planets are known to exist around stars this hot, and this system is by far the brightest,” Lendi said.

“WASP- 189b is also the brightest hot Jupiter that we can observe as it passes in front of or behind its star, making the whole system really intriguing.”

 ?? © ESA ?? Because WASP-189B is so hot, the star appears blue and not yellow-white
like the sun.
© ESA Because WASP-189B is so hot, the star appears blue and not yellow-white like the sun.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada