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Newly discovered planet is darker than coal August 11, 2011

Posted by intellectualgridiron in Science.
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According to this article, more than 500 extra-solar planets have been discovered since 1995.  That does not count one of the first-ever extrasolar planets discovered back in 1992; a planet roughly four times the size of Earth, orbiting a pulsar.  But it does not matter how many new planets are discovered, it’s always a neat development.  What makes this one stand out consists of a couple of things.  For one, it is another gas giant, much like Jupiter.  But unlike Jupiter, which orbits about 483 million miles from the Sun, on average, this one, TrES-2b, orbits a mere three million miles from its star.  To put things further in perspective, Mercury’s mean distance from the Sun is about 36 million miles.  Furthermore, unlike Jupiter, whose alternating color stripes make it one of the most visually distinct planets in the solar system — its size notwithstanding — TrES-2b is, according to reports, “blacker than coal.”



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