Astronomers discover extremely hot planet that can melt most metals
image: University of South Queensland

Astronomers discover extremely hot planet that can melt most metals

Astronomers have discovered a new planet — TOI-1431b, also known as MASCARA-5b, located around 490 light-years away from the Earth. The planet is massive in size, almost three times the gas giant Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system.

It’s ridiculously hot

However, the size of the TOI-1431b isn’t the most intriguing part. The planet is extremely hot in nature. A team of astronomers led by Astrophysicist Dr. Brett Addison of the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Astrophysics, Toowoomba, found that the planet is so similar to a bright star that it has an orbit time of around 60 hours. It means its temperature is among the hottest planets ever discovered.

“These types of exceptionally hot planets, known as ultra-hot Jupiters, are quite rare,” said Addison. “This is a very hellish world – dayside temperature of about 3000K (approximately 2700oC) and nightside temperature approaching 2600K (approximately 2300oC) – no life could survive in its atmosphere. In fact, the planet’s nightside temperature is the second hottest ever measured!”

The planet was first spotted by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). Following the discovery, Addison gathered data using the Stellar Observation Network Group (SONG) telescope, which helped the team confirm the planet’s existence.

Unique in its own way

Apart from the sheer size, tight orbit, and extremely hot temperatures, TOI-1431b is unique in its orbit. It’s tilted to the point where it rotates in the opposite direction of its star.

“The discovery presents a great opportunity,” said Addison, “to study the atmospheres of these planets to understand how they form and migrate.”

Recently, Dutch scientists also discovered a new massive planet. It’s around 110 times far from its star than Earth is to the Sun. Its solar system is located 360 light-years away from Earth. Called YSES 2b, the planet was found by the Young Suns Exoplanet Survey (YSES), using data from the Very Large Telescope.

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