It was nicknamed ‘Dark Knight’, the ‘Black Knight’, TrES-2b was also been described as ‘the darkest planet in the universe’ because it reflects so little light.
Located about 750 light years away from us in the Draco constellation, it is twice as big as Jupiter and revolves around its star at a distance of about a tenth of that between Mercury and the sun, just 5 million kilometers away from it. It is therefore belongs to the class of planets that astronomers named as ‘hot Jupiters’, gas giants with a bulk composition similar to that of Jupiter orbiting very close to their host stars. Another interesting element is that the TrES-2 system is a binary star system with a much less brilliant companion.
But what characterizes TrES-2b is the little light it reflects, reflecting less than 1% of any light that hits it.
It’s just ridiculous how dark this planet is, how alien it is compared to anything we have in our solar system.
David Kipping said.
It’s darker than the blackest lump of coal, than dark acrylic paint you might paint with. It’s bizarre how this huge planet became so absorbent of all the light that hits it.
However, it’s not completely pitch black.
David Spiegel said in a statement.
It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.
Scientists do not yet explain why it is so dark but they propose the existence of some elements, such as vaporized sodium and potassium or gaseous titanium oxide, presents in the atmosphere of the planet could be the cause, although none of these really explain this extreme darkness.
It’s a mystery as to what’s causing it to be so dark,
There’s a good chance it’s a chemical we haven’t even thought of yet.
The telescope will be looking at all the light that comes from the star and it’s going to be tracking how much light is blocked once the planet crosses. We will see this dip, this curve that will appear in the amount of light that we see.
Eric Edelman explained before the show.
Dark Knight began to cross in front of its star 28 minutes into the live broadcast, and ended its journey exactly one hour and 30 minutes later. This transit is unique because normally it takes a few hours to process the data post-transit in order to develop a curve, whereas Slooh experts will process the light curve in as much real-time as they can.
You can watch the replay here.
Planets around other stars hold great excitement for researchers and the public alike,
Few if any are more weird and alien than the Dark Knight, whose passage across the face of its parent star is both scientifically instructive, and captivating to watch — especially live, in real-time.
Featured image: © 2013-2015 Miarath.