Lately, the scientists have discovered a “pitch black” planet that is 470 light-years away. This planet absorbs 99% of the light and makes it one of the darkest known planet. This planet has been named as WASP-104b. It was discovered by researchers from Keele University in the UK.
They put to use NASA's Kepler telescope and established that this planet is 'darker than charcoal’. It hardly reflects any light of its host star. The researchers were amazed to see that this planet did not reflect the light of its host star. WASP-104b was found orbiting a yellow dwarf star some 470 light-years away in the constellation Leo. It is also categorised as a 'hot Jupiter' planet. Hot Jupiters are gas giant planets that are located very close to their host stars, as a result they become very hot. The scientists have estimated that WASP-104b’s proximity to its host star is the reason behind the planet being so dark. Another factor that leads to this darkness is the presence of alkali metals like sodium and potassium in a 'hazy' atmosphere, which leads to significant absorption of light in the visual wavelengths. As WASP-104b is one of the least reflective planet, it will serve as a test bed for atmospheric models.
By: Anuja Arora