An international research team led by astronomers at Ohio State and Vanderbilt universities, have found an alien world orbiting a massive star they have named KELT-9, which is located 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.
The planet is a gas giant 2.8 times the mass of Jupiter but only half as dense, because the extreme radiation from its host star has caused its atmosphere to puff up like a balloon.
On this planet, temperature reaches 4,600 Kelvin (around 4,327 degrees Celsius), which means it is only 1,200 Kelvin (930°C) cooler than our own sun.
Researchers say that the ultraviolet radiation from the star it orbits is so brutal that the planet may be literally evaporating away under the intense glare, producing a glowing gas tail.
The reason the exoplanet is so hot is because the star it orbits is more than twice as large and nearly twice as hot as our sun.
On the other hand, the planet’s orbit is extremely close to the star so if the star begins to expand it will engulf it.
Astronomers are searching for Earth-like planets around smaller and cooler stars like our sun because these planets can have a potential to be habitable. Extreme, bizarre celestial bodies such as KELT-9b most probably cannot have any life.
However, astronomers Stassun and Gaudi believe that it is a great opportunity to study KELT-9b’s host star, which is bigger and hotter than the sun, because it creates an opportunity to better understand how planetary systems form around hot, massive stars.