Astronomers this week announced the discovery of a planet, called KELT-9b, that’s “hotter than most stars,” with temperatures reaching 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit—and it’s said to be 2.8 times more massive than Jupiter.
“This is the hottest gas giant that has ever been discovered,” said astronomy professor Scott Gaudi.
Although the planet, which is tidally locked, is much larger than Jupiter, it’s only half as dense. That’s due to its proximity to KELT-9, which scientists say is causing the planet’s atmosphere to “puff up like a balloon.”
Apparently, the Jupiter-like world has a blue A-type star, known as KELT-9, that’s even hotter. So hot, in fact, that KELT-9 is unraveling KELT-9b through evaporation, according to scientists.
KELT-9 is estimated to be around 300 million years old, which is pretty young for a star. That youthful vigor, however, has its advantages. Scientists estimate the star is said to be twice as large and twice as hot as our sun.
In the future, scientists believe KELT-9 will swell into a red giant star and eventually engulf KELT-9b before burning out.
“It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions of mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other planet we’ve ever seen just because of the temperature of its dayside,” Gaudi said.