Astronomers have found a new exoplanet in their observations with one of the most extreme surface conditions ever recorded. The planet, WASP-189b, has been recorded with surface temperatures in the region of 3,200 degrees Celsius (5,792 degrees Fahrenheit).
The exoplanet was observed thanks to the European Space Agency’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS). The surface temperatures recorded on WASP-189b is enough to melt (and even evaporate) metals and rocks on the surface of the exoplanet. The planet is in a very unique position around its star, allowing for these extreme record temperatures. WASP-189b only has a 2.7-day solar year (compared to Earth’s 365.25 days), with one side permanently facing the Sun and the other away.
“WASP-189b is especially interesting because it is a gas giant that orbits very close to its host star,” says astrophysicist Monika Lendl from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. “It takes less than three days for it to circle its star, and it is 20 times closer to it than Earth is to the Sun.”
WASP-189b’s star is named HD 133112, which also has temperatures far greater than our Sun. While our Sun has temperatures of around 6,000 degrees Celsius (10,832 degrees Fahrenheit), HD 133112 is recorded to be about 2,000 degrees Celsius (3,600 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter. This fact marks this observation as one of the hottest stars to ever be recorded with an orbiting planet. WASP-189b close proximity and gigantic size (about the 1.6 times the size of Jupiter) makes it a very unique exoplanet.
The planet is also not a clear sphere, as its extremely fast spinning speed (due to its small solar orbit and permanent night/day sides) makes it clearly elongated at its equator. This was also observed by CHEOPS.
“Only a handful of planets are known to exist around stars this hot, and this system is by far the brightest,” says Lendl. “WASP-189b is also the brightest hot Jupiter that we can observe as it passes in front of or behind its star, making the whole system really intriguing.”
WASP-189b is nicknamed a “hot Jupiter,” due to its Jupiter-based scale and close proximity to its star. There are still many questions about the formation of this exoplanet, as data indicates the planet actually formed much further away from its star, later being pulled in closer. CHEOPS will continue to observe more interesting exoplanets, shedding light on the formation of unique exoplanets that can be observed by us. This continued development into the vast set of data of exoplanets will help us learn more about the history of our own,
“The accuracy achieved with CHEOPS is fantastic,” says planetary scientist Heike Rauer from the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Germany. “The initial measurements already show that the instrument works better than expected. It is allowing us to learn more about these distant planets.”
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