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NASA Space

NASA's Hubble Captures Blistering Pitch-Black Planet (scienmag.com) 104

schwit1 writes: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space. This light-eating prowess is due to the planet's unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The oddball exoplanet, called WASP-12b, is one of a class of so-called "hot Jupiters," gigantic, gaseous planets that orbit very close to their host star and are heated to extreme temperatures. The planet's atmosphere is so hot that most molecules are unable to survive on the blistering day side of the planet, where the temperature is 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, clouds probably cannot form to reflect light back into space. Instead, incoming light penetrates deep into the planet's atmosphere where it is absorbed by hydrogen atoms and converted to heat energy. "We did not expect to find such a dark exoplanet," said Taylor Bell of McGill University and the Institute for Research on Exoplanets in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, lead researcher of the Hubble study. "Most hot Jupiters reflect about 40 percent of starlight."
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NASA's Hubble Captures Blistering Pitch-Black Planet

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  • Fahrenheit? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @02:19AM (#55229887)

    Seriously?

    https://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/functions/standards/isu.html

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Is that the only problem you have? Your life must be boring, then.

      (Pro tip from a metric guy: use the command-line "units". Or Emacs "calc" mode. Or just use your head, if you have one. I guesstimated it to 2300K in my head)

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Calydor ( 739835 )

        Did you get an orgasm from being this elitist? I hope so.

        • How is it being elitist complaining that the measurement used is that which only a tiny fraction of temperature unit users everywhere use? If anything, I would say it's the opposite.

        • by tomxor ( 2379126 )

          Did you get an orgasm from being this elitist? I hope so.

          Did you get an orgasm from being this ignorant? I hope not.

          Oh the frustration I get every time someone gives temperature in Fahrenheit, how elitist am I... Everyone in the world except north america uses C and K. Why did you guys stick with this arcane measurement for so long? inches and feet at least have useful divisibility and human relationships... Have you read the definition of Fahrenheit? it's absurd, it doesn't even bother to correctly scale it's unit to anything meaningful in base ten... i mean if

          • Just to join the pedantics :)
            The original deginition of Fahrenheit was: 0 is the coldest temperature you can get in a slat brine (makes some sence, as it is a stable temperaturre for a long time) and 100 is the average human body temperature (makes some sense, too)

            Why they changed the upper end to 96, you can find on the Wikipedia article, I francly forgot :)

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Everyone in the world except north america uses C and K.

            I use Celsius, and I live in North America. Please do not lump us into the area controlled by Trump, eh?

            -- A concerned citizen of the northern parts of North America.

          • It makes perfect sense. Water freezes at 32, and boils at 212. There is 180 degree difference between boiling and freezing, just like there is a 180 degree difference between North and South.
      • Is that the only problem you have? Your life must be boring, then.

        (Pro tip from a metric guy: use the command-line "units". Or Emacs "calc" mode. Or just use your head, if you have one. I guesstimated it to 2300K in my head)

        Because it has history of conversion errors [mentalfloss.com], and that caused a lot of money (yours included if you were paying taxes). If you don't take it seriously, the similar loss could happen again (and possibly lives).

        Unfortunately, the Mariner I incident wasn’t the last time NASA lost a mission due to an easily-avoidable gaff. In 1999, the $125 million ($172 million in 2014 dollars) Mars Climate Orbiter flew off course and disintegrated after spacecraft engineers forgot to convert from English to metric measurements.

      • I guesstimated it to 2300K in my head)

        Is that a lot?

    • Fahrenheit 451, baby!

    • "except where impractical." This is where celsius and kelvin become irrelevant and gallons become relevant
    • http://www.mcgill.ca/centre-mo... [mcgill.ca] French text 2500C , English text 4600F .... common McGill :S , in Canada it's metric in English and French.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    At roughly 2300 Kelvin the planet should emit a dim glow, centered somewhere in the (near) infrared?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/pitch_black/

  • by Kristofer Vesi ( 5055541 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @04:02AM (#55230127)
    4600ÂF = 2540ÂC
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @04:09AM (#55230147)

    nonsense, they found Disaster Area's spaceship!

    "It was a ship of classic, simple design, like a flattened salmon, twenty yards long, very clean, very sleek. There was just one remarkable thing about it.

    "It's so ... black!" said Ford Prefect, "you can hardly make out its shape ... light just seems to fall into it!"

    Zaphod said nothing. He had simply fallen in love.

    The blackness of it was so extreme that it was almost impossible to tell how close you were standing to it."

    • [as the Federation ships prepare to fire on the dark planet]
      Scientist's Aide: Its structure has just solidified on the surface.
      Head Scientist: I think it's anticipating the attack. Anticipation denotes intelligence.
      Priest Vito Cornelius: The most terrible intelligence imaginable, Mr. President.

    • "It's like, how much more black could this be and the answer is none. None more black."
    • It’s the wild colour scheme that freaks me out, every time you try and operate these weird black controls that are labeled in black on a black background, a little black light lights up in black to let you know you’ve done it.
  • This is NASA, come on, a science institution. Using Fahrenheit?
    They should use Kelvin!

    This is dumbing down science just so that Trump understands it!

    • This is dumbing down science just so that Trump understands it!

      Given that he's also the one who is talking about budgets and cuts,
      I think you understood wyh the EXTREME vulgarisation of the NASA.

      (And with some luck, he might also confuse them with NSA and shower them with money. who knows ?...)

    • I'm pretty sure the original article is in C, because Canada is using metric.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by gtall ( 79522 )

      Please, you cannot dumb science down enough for Trump to understand it. He's like most Republicans, he will only believe what he wants to and science be damned.

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      [Using Fahrenheit? They should use Kelvin!]
      This is dumbing down science just so that Trump understands it!

      If they wanted that, they'd use the Trump Scale:
        - kinda hot
        - hot
        - bigly hot
        - maga hot
        - yuuugely hot
        - believe me, even Jiiina can't make stuff this hot

    • This is NASA, come on, a science institution. Using Fahrenheit?

      (The following is a joke)

      I'd like to point out that NASA also lands probes on Mars. The Europeans with their vaunted metric system? They tend to crash. [gizmodo.com]

      Heck, the one time NASA used a little bit of the metric system? Whammo! [wired.com]

      It's like a virus. Start including the metric system and the whole thing gets screwed up!

      (The preceding was a joke. Yes, I know the issue with the ESA lander had nothing to do with the metric system. Yes, I know the issue with the NASA lander was converting between metric and imperia

  • Its blacker than my cousin Femi fam, and he's from Africa!

  • The planet is indeed emitting infrared light. Not all light is visible.

    • Are radio waves light? Are gamma rays light? I couldn't find a proper definition of light expect for "visible light". Didn't you mean electromagnetic radiation?

  • Now we know where they all went! I can't wait to drive on it!

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      It's the Walmart planet, with the biggest parking lot ever. (Wish they'd share some of the parking space with universities: they always have parking problems.)

  • by hipp5 ( 1635263 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @06:55AM (#55230515)

    This light-eating prowess is due to the planet's unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere.

    "This light-eating prowess is due to the planet's unique capability to eat light."

    Thank you for that useful information... /grumpyoldman

    • This light-eating prowess is due to the planet's unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere.

      "This light-eating prowess is due to the planet's unique capability to eat light."

      Thank you for that useful information... /grumpyoldman

      I propose the name Yakon http://dragonball.wikia.com/wi... [wikia.com]

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday September 20, 2017 @08:24AM (#55230935)

    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space.

    Priest: Imagine for a moment that this thing is not anything that can be identified because it prefers not to be. Wherever there is life, it brings death, because it is evil, absolute evil.

    President: One more reason to shoot first.

    Priest: Evil begets evil, Mr. President. Shooting will only make it stronger.

  • NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space.

    Or, to put it another, slightly less flowery way, because it's black.

  • Sounds an awful lot like this triple-max slam in the outer ring ... Crematoria [wikia.com], I think it's called. I would suggest that you keep an eye out for a bald guy if you ever visit, but by the time you realize he's there, it's too late.

Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.

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