Jupiter-Sized Planet That Is Darker Than Coal Discovered

Written by Rob Soto on Aug. 13, 2011

Astronomers in the United States claim that they have discovered the darkest known planet in the galaxy, located 750 light years away from the Earth. Harvard-Smithsonian Center scientists say the planet, called TrES-2b, has the size of Jupiter and reflects less than 1% of the sunlight falling onto it.

The exoplanet is being described as being darker than coal and blacker than any other planet, and is located in the direction of the Draco constellation.

“TrES-2b is considerably less reflective than black acrylic paint, so it’s truly an alien world,” astronomer David Kipping, lead author on the paper, said.

Astronomers are still unaware of what makes the planet so dark. Astronomers note, however, that the newly-found planet orbits at a distance of 3 million miles from its star, which is responsible for heating the planet to more than 1800 degrees Farenheit. This, in turns, creates an exotic atmosphere containing light-absorbing chemicals called gaseous titanium oxide.

“It’s not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark,” stated co-author David Spiegel of Princeton University. “However, it’s not completely pitch black. It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.”