Hubble Space Telescope detects pitch-black exoplanet

Fourteen hundred light-years away, in a constellation called Auriga, the Hubble Space Telescope has detected an exoplanet that reflects virtually no light. Like asphalt, the gas giant is almost pitch black, and like asphalt in the sun, it’s hot. The planet is tidally locked, meaning the same side always faces its star; sun-side, temperatures can get up to 2500°C, NASA reports. Temperatures like that make it impossible for large molecules to exist in the atmosphere, allowing the sun’s energy to penetrate deep into the planet. There, scientists suspect the energy is absorbed by hydrogen molecules and converted to heat. The nighttime side of the planet is a mere 1400°C—just below the temperature at which wrought iron melts, but cool enough to host clouds and water vapor.

Latest News