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Darkest planet found; soaks 99% light

Kepler spacecraft is specially designed to find planets outside our solar system. The recently found darkest planet ever, TrES-2b, for example, is 750 light years away from Earth.

Till now, we believed that black holes are the darkest entities in space, but the Kepler spacecraft of NASA has found a planet that reflects only 1 percent light that falls on it.

The planet named TrES-2b is being considered even less reflective than coal or the darkest shade of acrylic color.

The gas giant has a temperature of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit (980 degree Celsius) and is almost the size of Jupiter.

Darkest planet ever found
The newly found planet is so dark that it reflects only one percent of the light of its star that falls on it.

Answering the question what makes the planet so dark, lead author of the study, David Kipping said: “Some have proposed that this darkness may be caused by a huge abundance of gaseous sodium and titanium oxide, but more likely there is something exotic there that we have not thought of before.”

Kepler’s findings suggest that the planet reflects less than one percent of the light that falls on it, though it is only three million miles away from its star. In comparison, Earth is 93 million miles away from Sun and is lot cooler.

He said that this mystery excited the researchers. They are looking forward to probing the possibility of TrES-2b representing a whole new category of exoplanets. For this, the researchers are going to use NASA’s Kepler spacecraft which has already spotted hundreds of planets.

Kepler is specially designed to find planets outside our solar system. TrES-2b, for example, is 750 light years away from Earth. Kepler uses light sensors to monitor the dimming of the light of the planets when they pass between their star and the spacecraft.

Mysteries of the darkest planet not unraveled yet
Co-author of the study, David Spiegel, a professor at the Princeton University, said in the paper reporting the existence of the planet: “It’s not clear what is responsible for making this planet so extraordinarily dark. However, it is not completely pitch black. It’s so hot that it emits a faint red glow, much like a burning ember or the coils on an electric stove.”

Kepler’s findings suggest that the planet reflects less than one percent of the light that falls on it, though it is only three million miles away from its star. In comparison, Earth is 93 million miles away from Sun and is lot cooler.

“If we could see it up close it would look like a near-black ball of gas, with a slight glowing red tinge to it – a true exotic amongst exoplanets,” said Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.