TOI-1431b, a newly discovered planet 490 light-years from Earth, is a massive world. It’s three times the mass of Jupiter, our solar system’s largest planet.
But that isn’t even close to being the most fascinating aspect of TOI-1431b. What’s the most intriguing part? TOI-1431b is a scorcher. It’s sweltering outside.
Orbit of 2.5 Days
TOI-1431b was discovered by a global team of astronomers led by Brett Addison of the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Astrophysics in Toowoomba. It is so similar to its bright star that it has a two-and-a-half-day orbit period. That means it’s one of the hottest places on the planet.
“Ultra-hot Jupiters,” as these types of extremely hot planets are called, are extremely rare, according to Addison.
3000K Day Temperature
“This is a hellish climate, with daytime temperatures approaching 3,000K (approximately 2,700 degrees C) and nighttime temperatures approaching 2,600K (approximately 2,300 degrees C) – no life could live in its atmosphere; in reality, the planet’s nighttime temperature is the second hottest ever measured.”
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite was the first to discover TOI-1431b. Following up, Addison used the Stellar Observation Network Group telescope in the Canary Islands to gather data that would help validate the planet’s presence.
“The earth is hotter than the melting point of most metals and hotter than molten lava,” Addison told CNET. In terms of real-world examples of how hot the planet is. In reality, the planet’s dayside temperature is hotter than 40% of the Milky Way galaxy’s stars. “The planet’s temperature is approaching that of a jet engine’s exhaust.”
TOI-1431b’s orbit is relatively uncommon, in addition to its size, unusually close orbit, and sweltering temperatures. TOI-1431b has a retrograde orbit, which means it rotates in the same direction as its star.
“The discovery provides a fantastic opportunity to research the atmospheres of these planets in order to better understand how they shape and migrate,” Addison said.