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Scientists Have Found Most Metal Planets In The Galaxy

Astronomy & Physics reported that scientists have discovered a far-off and highly metallic exoplanet that boasts a baffling composition in a recent study. This planet, named LTT9779 b, is located more than 260 light-years from Earth and has an extremely high albedo, which is the scientific way of saying it reflects an intimidating amount of light into space from its atmosphere. This metal planet is an outlier compared to planets we’re familiar with when you consider its proximity to its home star, giving it an estimated surface temperature in the ballpark of 2,000 degrees Celsius.

A metal planet is reflecting an amazing amount of light back into space as scientists are baffled over what’s happening on the surface.

Observatory of Côte d’Azur researcher Vivien Parmentier, who co-authored the study, suggests that most planets that occupy territory so close to their home star would typically have their atmosphere vaporized due to the extreme heat.

But in the case of LTT9779 b, the metal planet has a unique atmosphere composed of metallic clouds, giving it a heavier atmosphere that’s more difficult to be displaced. The metal planet’s clouds also reflect light from the star and keep the planet’s surface from getting too hot.

LTT9779 b isn’t just a metal planet, it has metal clouds covering the surface, contributing to the extreme heat.

The metal planet’s unique composition and shine were analyzed through the use of the European Space Agency’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS). LTT9779 b’s proximity to its home star allows it to make a full orbit every 19 hours, and researchers were able to track the planet’s brightness when it moved behind the star, an event otherwise known as a secondary eclipse.

In their research, scientists concluded that the LTT9779 b has an albedo of 80 percent, which is 50 percent higher than Earth’s, and five percent higher than Venus’, which has the highest albedo in our own solar system.

Unlike Venus, which has an atmosphere composed of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds that trap heat, LTT9779 b’s atmosphere is over-saturated with silicate and metal vapors that reflect it.

In other words, the metal planet has glass and metal clouds that rain down exceedingly hot titanium droplets when they become too heavy. The surface of LTT9779 b experiences death from above thousands of times; this harbinger of destruction creates a protective and reflective barrier that keeps the surface from being blasted apart by its home star.

A metal planet with titanium clouds sounds like its from science-fiction, but it exists in the unvierse.

This metal planet is the first of its kind that scientists have discovered, and its perplexing nature fascinates us, to say the least. As we continue to learn about LTT9779 b’s ability to remain in one piece despite the insane amount of heat it absorbs, we are led to wonder if similar metal planets are more common than we’d think.

Though an entirely metal planet with titanium clouds sounds like the home planet of some advanced alien race we’d see in a dystopian science-fiction film, we can’t deny that we’ve found something new and shiny that we can’t take our eyes off of.

Now that the James Webb Telescope has officially (and successfully) been in service for a year, we can only hope that researchers will eventually point its high-sensitivity infrared telescopes in the direction of the metal planet so we can get a more detailed look and with that a better understanding of how this unique exoplanet functions.

The post Scientists Have Found The Most Metal Planet In The Galaxy appeared first on GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT.

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