KELT-9b, hottest planet where iron becomes gas


This 15 August 2018 video says about itself:

KELT-9b: This Planet’s Atmosphere Is so Hot It Can Vaporize Heavy Metals

Last year, astronomers made an intriguing discovery: a scorching planet, hotter than any other known to man, where dayside temperatures may exceed 4,000 Kelvin (6740 degrees Fahrenheit). That would make it hotter than many stars.

Now, further intriguing details of this unusual exoplanet, dubbed KELT-9b, have emerged.

According to a study published in the journal Nature, the planet’s atmosphere contains heavy metals, such as iron and titanium, which take the form of a vaporized gas because of the extreme heat.

Iron is the most abundant transition metal—those in the center of the periodic table. However, it has never been directly detected in the atmosphere of an exoplanet because it is highly refractory, meaning it has a high melting point and, therefore, requires very high temperatures to be turned into a gas.

KELT-9b, which is located around 650 light years away, belongs to a class of planets known as “ultra-hot Jupiters”—Jupiter-sized exoplanets that orbit extremely close to their host stars.

KELT-9b, for example, is 30 times closer to its star, KELT-9, than the Earth is to the Sun, completing an entire orbit in just 36 hours. As a result, like other ultra-hot Jupiters, its atmosphere becomes so hot that the chemistry within resembles that of a star more than a planet.

Currently, we do not know what KELT-9’s atmosphere looks like and how it can evolve under such conditions. To understand more, a team of researchers from the University of Bern created computer simulations of the planet’s atmosphere. These simulations predicted that it should be possible to detect metals like iron and titanium as single atoms because the bonds that usually join them together with other atoms will be broken by the high-energy collisions taking place between particles at extremely high temperatures.

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