The Discovery of an Exoplanet so Hot it has Titanium and Iron in its Atmosphere
When we talk about the hottest temperatures on a planet in our solar system, Mercury definitely takes the first place. With temperatures hitting as high as 800 degrees Fahrenheit, Mercury won’t allow anything to remain alive on its surface. However, astronomers have discovered an exoplanet, KELT-9b, which makes Mercury seem chilly by comparison.
Located at about 650 light years from our solar system, KELT-9b is orbiting its star, KELT-9, at such a short distance that it finishes a complete orbit in just two Earth days. As opposed to KELT-9b, Earth takes 365 (or 366 on leap years) days to finish an orbit around the sun. Because of its proximity to a star KELT-9b is an extremely hostile place and it seems that what we think to be hard materials on our planet are swiftly vaporized there.
This planet is the prime example of how an ultra-hot Jupiter might look like. It is a huge ball of gas which is also extremely hot. To paint you a picture, the temperatures on KELT-9b can reach 5800 degrees Fahrenheit. Another contributing factor, besides the proximity is the fact that the KELT-9 is a lot hotter than our sun.
This planet can get even hotter than some of the stars, according to what the astronomers had to say. By observing the light as it passes through the KELT-9b’s atmosphere, scientists could figure out what sort of chemicals it contains. The astonishing finding is that astronomers picked up what appears to be iron vapor and to take it one step further, they also found traces of gaseous titanium.
This planet is so hot that even titanium doesn’t have a chance and gets vaporized. It is thought that planet as hot as KELT-9b don’t last very long, eventually evaporating. However, this one endured that passage of time.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.