TrES-2b: The Darkest Planet In Space That Reflects Almost No Light


The universe is full of mysterious and exciting stars and planets. But perhaps the most interesting one is a planet called “TrES-2b.” Here’s why it’s exceptional.

TrES-2b is an extrasolar planet located 750 light years away from our solar system.

"TrES-2b is considerably less reflective than black acrylic paint, so it's truly an alien world," says astronomer David Kipping of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The planet, which is even blacker than coal, reflects less than one percent of light.

Researchers still don’t know the cause of its mystery. Considering the systems we know, planets that are so close to their stars must be at least as bright as Mercury. While Mercury is reflecting 10% of the light, this planet doesn’t even reflect 1% of it.

Nevertheless, there are two theories.

One of those theories is that there are no clouds to reflect light on the planet.

TrES-2b is thought to be a gas giant planet like Jupiter. But Jupiter’s atmosphere has clouds of ammonia that can reflect light.

TrES-2b doesn’t have ammonia clouds probably because it’s very close to its star.

The distance between TrES-2b and its star is estimated to be 2,500,000 miles. Remember that the distance between Earth and the Sun is 90,000,000 miles. Even Mercury, the closest planet to our Sun, is on average 21,000,000 miles away.

So it must be too hot to have ammonia clouds.

So, it makes sense, considering the fact that the estimated temperature on its surface is about 1000 degrees.

And here's the second theory...

This darkness may be caused by a huge abundance of gaseous sodium and titanium oxide.

"But more likely there is something exotic there that we have not thought of before.” Kipping says.

TrES-2b may even represent a whole new class of exoplanet.

"As Kepler discovers more and more planets by the day, we can hopefully scan through those and work out if this is unique or if all hot Jupiters are very dark," Kipping says.

"Maybe an appropriate nickname would be Erebus," he says, referring to the Ancient Greece's God of Darkness.

Sources: 1 2

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