The 5 Weirdest Planets To Have Been Discovered So Far

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There are many strange things we don’t understand about our universe, with black holes, dark matter and a whole bunch of weird sights and sounds out there that we just can’t figure out. But what is even more complicated when we think we understand, and then we make a discovery that confuses us, especially when that discovery involves entire planets. The planets that are so strange that shouldn’t logically exist. This is a list of the 5 weirdest planets we’ve found so far.

Hot Jupiter – The Darkest Planet Ever Found

Gas giant known as TrES-2b is the darkest planet that we ever found. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle

The darkest planet ever found TrES-2b is what space scientists call a Hot Jupiter and this isn’t because they like a zit-shaming our local gas giant with its unsightly red spot. Also known as Roaster planets, Hop Jupiters are so called due to their resemblance to Jupiter and the fact they are extremely close orbit to their parent stars. And, at a distance of just three million miles away from its parent, TrES-2b orbits at less than one-tenth the distance that Mercury does from our own Sun. Yet despite being so close, TrES-2b is the darkest planet ever discovered by man, as when the Kepler mission stumbled across it in 2009 it was found to bounce black less than 1% of the light that hits it, making it less reflective than coal, black acrylic paint.

Hell Planet – The Planet Born Inside A Star

This illustration compares Earth with the newly confirmed scorched world of Kepler-78b. Image credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)

Since everything that exists in our universe is thought to have been created inside a star, you may think this entry sounds a little pointless. But the incredible story of the mysterious Kepler 78-b will change your mind. This planet is also known as Hell Planet and it is discovered using the Kepler space telescope. It has a radius and mass only slightly bigger than Earth’s and it is also thought to maintain a relatively similar composition of rock and iron. At the time of its discovery in 2013, it was the exoplanet most similar to Earth we’d ever seen.

So, you’re wondering what is so strange about this planet? The surface temperatures on the Hell Planet may be as high as 2827 degrees Celsius. As you might have guessed already, this planet has a pretty tight orbit, but it is a little too close to its own son that should be. This planet is 40 times nearer to its sun than Mercury is to ours, which means technically it shouldn’t even exist. The Hell Planet’s parent star Kepler 78 was once much bigger than it is now. In fact, it was so large that its radius would’ve been beyond where the Hell Planet exists today. This discovery messed up with our current theories of planetary formation, as there’s no way it could have evolved in its current location and there’s no known process which could’ve slung it there either. But one thing is for certain: the Hell Planet will be swallowed by its parent star sometime in next 3 billion years.

The Diamond Planet

Artist’s concept of Earth vs 55 Cancri e. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC)

Among weirdest planets is the world 40 light-years away known as 55 Cancri e. It is composed of so much diamond that if you mined them all you’d own 26.9 nonillion dollars. Such an abundance of diamond is thought to have been caused by the planet’s abundance of carbon and its high mass to size ratio, as despite being only twice Earth’s size it has a mass eight times greater. The diamond planet’s extreme temperatures are also thought to be involved with the end result being the world whose surface is a one-third diamond. Scientists have said that this strange world, which previously thought couldn’t exist, has given us our first view of a planet with chemical makeup vastly different to our own.

The Hottest Exoplanet – Wasp 18b

WASP-18b is a “hot Jupiter,” a giant exoplanet that orbits very close to its star, located about 330 light years from Earth. Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/I.Pillitteri et al; Optical: DSS

Wasp 18b is another Hot Jupiter, which orbits the Wasp 18 star located in the southern hemisphere’s Phoenix constellation, but a planet of this size located so close to its sun should have been torn apart a long time ago and scientists are baffled as to how it’s managed to hold out so long. Wasp 18b is the hottest ever exoplanet discovered with an average temperature of 2250 degrees celsius. We believe the planet is probably its death spiral right now, with a maximum lifespan of a million years left on the clock. However, we’re still yet to deduce what strange forces have helped Wasp 18 to live long beyond its years.

The Farthest Planet From Its Star – HD106906 b

This is an artist’s conception of a young planet in a distant orbit around its host star. Image credit NASA/JPL-Caltech

It was originally suggested that the planet known as HD 106906 b shouldn’t exist due to its size and distance from its star. The giant planet is 650 times the distance from Earth to the sun and is 11 times the size of Jupiter, which makes it the farthest known planet from its parent star. Surprisingly, the average temperature on the planet is a staggering 1500 degrees celsius, despite its vast distance from its host star. The planet is only 13 million years old – just a baby when you consider that the universe is over 14 billion years old. In fact, it is so young, that researchers can still detect the remnant “debris disk” of material left over from planet and star formation. Scientists believe that this planet could teach us new and exciting things about the ways in which planets are formed.

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