Mysterious 'completely black' planet is one of the darkest ever spotted

25 April, 2018, 21:33 | Author: Cecil Buchanan
  • 4_23_Hot Jupiter

Extreme degree of absorption of the incident light making the planet itself is nearly "black" of the known.

As per Močnik, being extremely close to the host star, the permanent day side of the planet (WASP-104b is tidally locked with one side always facing the star) could be witnessing extremely hot conditions. It absorbs 99 percent of all light that hits it, making it blacker than charcoal, nearly as dark as Vantablack.

The planet was discovered by researchers from Keele University in the United Kingdom, who used NASA's Kepler telescope to show that it is 'darker than charcoal.' The dark planet is named WASP-104b.

This planet is also a hot Jupiter, meaning it is a gas giant with around the same mass as Jupiter, but orbit close to their stars.

Hot Jupiters are known to be darker than normal, with many reflecting around 40% of light, but this is something totally unusual.

"All planets reflect starlight from their host star". This is the reason why the WASP-104b has a hazy layer that is thick with potassium and sodium atoms that absorb all light around it.

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A report in Tech Times mentioned that WASP-104b is so close to its host star that it can orbit around it in a span of 1.75 days.

Roughly at a distance of 470 miles away from the earth in the planet homed at the Leo constellation with a dwarf host star.

That said, it is worth noting this is not the first dark, hot Jupiter to be discovered in the cosmos.

Lead author Teo Mocnik said, 'From all the dark planets I could find in the literature, this is top five-ish. Last year, a new planet WASP-12b was found to absorb about 94 percent of all light that reached it.

As a result, it is too hot at WASP-104b to form ice and clouds- two things that make for highly reflective surfaces. That's because, the researchers say, the planet is so dark. Other observations - like the subtle gravitational wobbling WASP-104b inflicts on its host star - helped Mocnik and his colleagues describe the mysterious exoplanet in unprecedented detail.


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