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Scientists Find Exoplanet 'Kelt-9 b,' Hotter Than Most Stars in Our Universe

Artist's impression of exoplanet KELT-9b orbiting its host star, KELT-9. Credits: NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

Artist's impression of exoplanet KELT-9b orbiting its host star, KELT-9. Credits: NASA/Wikimedia Commons.

The exoplanet orbits a star that is twice as hot as the Sun in our Solar System, and at a distance that is ten times closer than Mercury orbits our star.

With some impressive strides in the field of space exploration, our understanding of the cosmos has improved drastically.

Earlier, things that were assumed to be typical have now been proven otherwise. For example, earlier it was believed that our solar system is a typical example of a planetary system and that is how it must be in other galaxies as well where the Sun is the hottest element being a star and planets revolving around it.

However, data collected from the Kepler space observatory has helped scientists discover something known as exoplanets. What makes exoplanets stand out is their immense proximity to their sun, and some being as big as Jupiter.

In a recent study published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, scientists Quentin Change and Billy Edwards talk about the hottest exoplanet, Kelt-9 b. The scientists say that the recent studies of ultra-hot Jupiters suggested that their atmospheres could have thermal inversions due to the presence of optical absorbers such as titanium oxide (TiO), vanadium oxide (VO), iron hydride (FeH), and other metal hydride/oxides.

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However, they anticipate that these molecules thermally dissociate at extremely high temperatures, which leads to featureless spectra in the infrared. The Kelt-9 b is thought to belong to this regime and host an atmosphere that is dominated by neutral hydrogen from dissociation and atomic/ionic species.

The exoplanet orbits a star that is twice as hot as the Sun in our Solar System, and at a distance that is ten times closer than Mercury orbits our star. With a radius 1.8 times that of Jupiter and temperatures reaching 5,000K, the planet is hotter than 80% of all the stars in the universe and a similar temperature to our Sun.

Scientists believe that this discovery offers an opportunity to study physics in environmental conditions that are almost impossible to replicate on Earth. Studying these planets would enhance the understanding of chemical and thermal processes, atmospheric dynamics and cloud formation that takes place at such planets.