Scientists didn’t know much about exoplanets until less than three decades ago. In fact, the first exoplanet was discovered in 1992, although astronomers suspected for a long time that there could be planets revolving around other stars as well. Pretty much the same principle applied long ago when some thinkers guessed that the Earth is a sphere: if other planets are not flat, why would Earth make an exception?
The Cheops extrasolar mission deployed by ESA (the European Space Agency) in December 2019 has brought back some intriguing info about an exoplanet.
WASP-189 b is smoking hot
WASP-189 b is a so-called ‘hot Jupiter’, as it sits in a very hot area of its solar system and it’s also about the same size as Jupiter.
Monika Lendl of the University of Geneva, Switzerland, who’s also the lead author of the new study, declares:
Only a handful of planets are known to exist around stars this hot, and this system is by far the brightest,
WASP-189b is also the brightest hot Jupiter that we can observe as it passes in front of or behind its star, making the whole system really intriguing.
WASP-189 b is positioned about 20 times closer to its host star than Earth is from the Sun. A year on the hot Jupiter lasts for only 2.7 days, which means that a full rotation lasts for only this period.
3,200 degrees Celsius
Thanks to the noticeable dip in the light astronomers see coming from the system as it slips out of view, they could measure the planet’s brightness and conclude that its temperature reaches an incredible 3,200 degrees C.”
Cheops was created to target nearby stars that host exoplanets. The mission is able to characterize those planets by ultra-precisely measuring changes in the levels of light coming from the systems as the exoplanets orbit their host stars.