Hottest planet to date found in the constellation Hercules

Friday, May 11, 2007

Artist's conception of HD 149026b, the hottest planet ever found.


Comparison of the inner core of the extrasolar planet HD 149026b and Jupiter
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

HD 149026b, a newly found planet in the constellation Hercules is dense, gassy and the hottest planet found to date. HD 149026b is smaller than the typical gas giant and its atmosphere is much heavier, contributing to its staggering temperature of 2,310 K (2,037°C, or 3,700°F), scientists said.

Scientist Joeseph Harrington described the planet as looking "like the evil eye."

"This planet is off the temperature scale that we expect for planets," said Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Harrington said for a planet to get so hot, it must be absorbing most of the light that reaches it. This energy is radiated back in the infrared spectrum.

HD 149026b is located 279 light-years from Earth with a light-year being the distance light travels in a year — about 9.46 trillion kilometres.