U.K. astronomers discover hottest planet ever found
A team of astronomers in Britain believe they have discovered the hottest planet ever found.
While Venus, right here in our own solar system, was once the hottest known planet, astronomers in the past 20 years have expanded their search to other solar systems.
As a result, planets have been identified that far exceed the 460 degrees Celsius temperature of Venus -- some with scorching temperatures approaching 1,000 C.
But astronomers from England have discovered what is now believed to be by far the hottest plan ever found.
Simply called WASP-33b, the planet is located in the far-off Andromeda constellation, 378 light years from Earth, and boasts a scorching temperature of 3,148 C.
The temperature readings were made using the William Herschel Telescope in the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Morocco.
Astronomer Alexis Smith, of Keele University in Staffordshire, U.K., led the study
"Given the nature of its host star and its very short orbital period, WASP-33b has the largest equilibrium temperature of any known exoplanet," said Smith's report.
That temperature means WASP-33b -- which is about 1.4 times the size of Jupiter -- is actually hotter than some stars.
The planet is considered a "hot jupiter" because it orbits close to its star, completing a full orbit every 29.28 hours.
By comparison, it takes planet Earth 365 days to complete a full orbit around the sun. The fast orbit effectively means WASP-33b experiences the equivalent of an Earthly year in 1.2 days.
It is also much closer to its star than Earth is to the sun. While Earth is 93 million miles from the sun, WASP-33b is only 1.86 million miles from the star it orbits.
Though that is not the closest known orbital distance between a star and a planet, WASP-33b's star is among the hottest to host a planet.
The star that WASP-33b orbits has an estimated temperature of about 7,160 C. The sun, by comparison, is about 5,600 C.