Monday, August 6, 2012

TrES-2b: The Darkest Exoplanet

The Keplar mission is to find alien worlds and this is perhaps one of the strangest planets Keplar has ever found. The planet TrES-2b is the darkest planet that ever seen. How pitch black is this planet? Well it’s darker than coal so that should tell you something. This planet reflects practically no light (1%) from the star it orbits.

The way Keplar found this planet was also quite interesting. Planets are never observed directly, they are observed by effects they exhibit on their star. When TrES-2b passed in front of its star Keplar was able to monitor the slight change in light. Keplar was able to determine that it was a gas giant relative in size to Jupiter.

TrES-2b is definitely a strange planet. Darkness aside the planet is also extremely close to it’s star. At 1 million miles TrES-2b is also very close to its host star. To give you some perspective Mercury is 28.5 million miles from the sun. This distance coupled with the darkness makes TrES-2b extremely hot. The surface of the planet is 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degrees Celsius). This intense heat also gives the black planet a reddish glow.

Perhaps the most interesting about TrES-2b is the cause of the planets color. Scientists think that it may be because of gases present in its atmosphere but they remain uncertain. As of now TrES-2b remains in the books as one of the most interesting exoplanets.


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