The brightest exoplanet ever found is an extremely hot exoplanet that orbits its home star every 19 hours. Planet LTT9779b is a hot world with shiny metallic clouds consisting of silicates and metals like titanium.
The exoplanet is the biggest “mirror” of the cosmos that has been discovered thus far, According to astronomers Earth is located 262 light years away from the planet.
The exoplanet, first discovered by NASA’s planet-hunting TESS mission in 2020 and ground-based observations from Chile’s European Southern Observatory, was chosen for further studies by the European Space Agency’s Cheops project. LTT9779b outshines Venus in our own solar system in terms of brightness, reflecting 80% of the light from its host star, according to observations taken by Cheops, or the Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite.
In our night sky, Venus is the second-brightest object after the moon, and its thick clouds reflect approximately 75% of the sunlight. Only around 30% of sunlight is, however, reflected by the Earth.
The results were described in research that was released on Monday in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.
Metallic Skies and Titanium Rain
According to research co author James Jenkins, an astronomer at Diego Portales University in Santiago, Chile, “imagine a burning world, close to its star, with heavy clouds of metals floating aloft, raining down titanium droplets.”
Because of their dark, uneven surfaces or light-absorbing atmospheres, most planets have low albedo values, which is a measurement of how much light an object reflects.
The reflecting clouds of Venus and icy planets like Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus are well-known exceptions. But LTT9779b’s brilliance is unexpected. 3,632 degrees Fahrenheit (2,000 degrees Celsius) is probably reached on the exoplanet’s side that is facing its host star.
Water clouds cannot develop at temperatures higher than 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius). LTT9779b is so hot that even clouds made of metal or glass shouldn’t be able to live there.