Astronomer finds exoplanet 35 light-years from Earth with surface temperature hot enough to bake cookies at 320 degrees Fahrenheit
- Researchers have directly imaged an exoplanet 35 light-years away, the closest to be imaged
- COCONUTS-2b orbits its star 6000 times further than Earth orbits the sun
- At 320 degrees Fahrenheit, the surface temperature is slightly cooler than most ovens use to bake cookies
- This makes it ‘the second coldest exoplanet found to date’
- COCONUTS-2b was imaged due to the light emitted by the waste heat produced since its inception
- It was first discovered in 2011, but was initially thought to float freely
More than 4,000 exoplanets have been confirmed with as many as 7,600 possible candidates, but a University of Hawaii researcher has directly imaged an exoplanet 35 light-years away, the closest yet photographed.
Known as COCONUTS-2b, the new planet orbits its star at a distance of 6,000 times further than Earth orbits the sun, making it “the second-coldest imaged exoplanet found to date,” according to one pronunciation.
At 320 degrees Fahrenheit, the surface temperature of the newly discovered exoplanet is slightly cooler than most ovens use to bake cookies, the statement said.
Researchers have directly imaged an exoplanet 35 light-years away, the closest in view. COCONUTS-2b could be imaged because of the light emitted by the waste heat produced since its inception
“With a massive planet in super-wide orbit and with a very cool central star, COCONUTS-2 represents a very different planetary system than our own solar system,” said study lead author Zhoujian Zhang in a statement. pronunciation.
The closest planet to our solar system orbits Epsilon Eridani, located 10.5 light-years away, according to year NASA.
Orbiting a low-mass red dwarf star, COCONUTS-2b is part of the new planetary system COCONUTS-2.
COCONUTS-2b orbits its star 6000 times further than Earth does around the sun. This makes it ‘the second coldest exoplanet found to date’
The researchers were able to image the exoplanet directly because of the light emitted by the waste heat produced since planet formation.
However, because the energy output is 1 million times weaker than that of the sun, the researchers were only able to detect it with lower-energy infrared light.
“Directly detecting and studying the light from gas giant planets around other stars is normally very difficult, because the planets we find usually have a small separation orbit and are thus buried in the brilliance of the light from their host star,” said co-author. of the research Michael Liu.
“With its massive orbital separation, COCONUTS-2b will be a great laboratory to study the atmosphere and composition of a young gas giant planet.”
The researchers imaged the exoplanet, which has a mass six times that of Jupiter, using the Cool Companions ON Ultrawide orbitS (COCONUTS) survey.
It was initially detected in 2011 by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer satellite, but at the time it was believed to be a free-floating object that did not orbit a star.
Zhang and the other researchers eventually found that it is bound to its star, which has a mass one-third the size of the sun and is about 10 times younger. For context, the sun is about 4.5 billion years old.
Given that there is such a great distance between COCONUTS-2b and its parent star, it is likely that the sky would look “dramatically different” compared to Earth, as day and night would be roughly the same, with the star appears bright red in the sky.
Due to its broad orbit and cool host star, COCONUTS-2b’s sky would appear dramatically different from Earth’s sky to an observer.
Night and day would look essentially the same, with the host star appearing as a bright red star in the dark sky.
The research will be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters and a pre-print version is available at the arXiv repository.