In case you were to make a list of exoplanets that may be worth visiting in person, WASP-121b wouldn’t be anywhere close to the top of your list. There are many exoplanets out there that wouldn’t be comfy for people. However, WASP-121b is a particular type of hostile, to not point out a form that may look fairly familiar to sports followers.
Astronomers have been finding out WASP-121b using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and their observations are extremely wild. For starters, the planet is extremely hot, with a higher atmosphere touching the temperatures of 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit. That extreme temperature and the proximity of the planet to its host star has also affected its shape.
Because the researchers clarify in a new paper revealed in the Astronomical Journal, WASP-121b is so hot and so near its star that it’s been deformed into an oblong, football-like shape. The unimaginable heat is so intense that it’s led elements like magnesium and iron to be completely vaporized, streaming into space because the star blasts the planet with immense pressure.
“This planet is a prototype for extremely-hot Jupiters. These planets are so closely irradiated by their host stars; they’re nearly like stars themselves,” Drake Deming, co-author of the research, said in a statement. “The planet is being evaporated by its host star to the purpose that we will see metal atoms leaving the upper atmosphere where they will interact with the planet’s magnetic field.