back to article Hubble catches a glimpse WASP-12b, an almost pitch-black exoplanet

Scientists studying WASP-12b, an exoplanet 871 light years from Earth, have determined that it reflects almost no light, making it one of the darkest planets in space. The team has published their results in a paper in The Astrophysical Journal on Thursday. The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph on board the Hubble Space …

  1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge


    They don't name it something like 'Magno malo'... Though we should probably keep an eye on it less it start moving in this direction.

    Mines the one that looks like medical tape....

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Hopefully...

      I think as long as we still don't have any flying cars we're safe...

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Hopefully...

        I'm glad someone got the obscure reference so have an up vote

  2. Magani


    Could this be the first real evidence of a planet visited by Hotblack Desiato and Disaster Area?

    1. Alan J. Wylie

      Re: Evidence?

      But Vangelis got there first: Albedo 0.39

    2. Red Ted

      Re: Evidence?

      Perhaps it is their Stunt-Ship waiting in orbit for the start of the concert?

  3. Prosthetic Conscience


    It's Larry Ellison's

  4. hplasm Silver badge

    Black planet, black world


    Penguin coz... close enuff...

  5. Smooth Newt

    WASP-12b is about two times less reflective than the Moon

    You mean half as reflective?

    1. sitta_europea Bronze badge

      Re: WASP-12b is about two times less reflective than the Moon

      "WASP-12b is about two times less reflective than the Moon"

      "You mean half as reflective?"

      I was going to quote one or two of the obvious howlers in this article butthere are so many of them that in the end I thought best just to ask el Reg to send Katyanna to school.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: WASP-12b is about two times less reflective than the Moon

        "I was going to quote one or two of the obvious howlers in this article "

        Like the point that at 2600°C, the surface is getting towards hot enough to boil iron(1), so glows rather more brightly than "slightly red like hot metal".

        (1) The analytical part of my brain knows this is possible, but the other bit gibbers somewhat at the thought.

      2. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: WASP-12b is about two times less reflective than the Moon

        The one that really got me was the "44 times closer..."

        I had to take the km distance and translate it to AU to get a meaningful comparison: about 0.02AU. I'm still not quite sure how 2% of the distance translates to "44 times closer".

  6. Stoneshop Silver badge

    making the planet darker than fresh asphalt!

    It's just an interstellar parking lot. Without the yellow lines, because the local council couldn't agree on the optimum grid size for the various species' craft, and said "bugger it, their nav system should be able to find a free spot anyway".

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: making the planet darker than fresh asphalt!

      ... or simply because all these starts and landings leave lots of soot anyway

  7. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    The planet suddenly decided to take a right turn?

    The artist needs to brush up on his physics lessons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Right turn?

      Yes, it was a bit remiss to use that illustration without explaining it.

      I believe it's meant to show that the orbit of WASP-12b around its star is close to its Roche Limit and is forming a ring.

      Planets are held together by their own gravity but if you move a planet close enough to a star (its Roche Limit) then the gravitational tidal force from the star is greater than the gravitational force that holds the planet together. The result is that the planet starts to come apart and form a ring around the star. Saturn's rings, apart from the outer 'E' & Phoebe rings, were formed in this way.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    2,600C? It might be a black body but it's not the dark matter you were looking for.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. 20i Richard

    Nice Sisters of Mercy reference - made my day!

  11. Alistair Silver badge

    Lets just keep an eye on that thing and make sure it's not calling Zorg any time soon.

    Although, I'll happily assist Leloo if it does.

  12. Hurn

    SOL is a dwarf?

    " star WASP-12a – a dwarf star with a similar mass and size as our Sun "

    If a dwarf start has similar mass and size as our sun, shurely this means our sun must be a dwarf?

    1. Pudders

      Re: SOL is a dwarf?

      Indeed it is, A Yellow Dwarf.

    2. cray74

      Re: SOL is a dwarf?

      shurely this means our sun must be a dwarf?

      Yep, a yellow dwarf. "A G-type main-sequence star (Spectral type: G-V), often (and imprecisely) [u]called a yellow dwarf[/u], or G dwarf star, is a main-sequence star (luminosity class V) of spectral type G. "

      Main sequence stars (those fusing hydrogen) tend to be called dwarf stars, even when they get to multiples times Sol's mass. "Giant stars," in turn, are those fusing something other than hydrogen in their core (helium or heavier elements) and consequently inflate substantially in size to deal with the extra heat. This can result in oddities: our future Sol, when it enters the red giant phase, will be less massive than its current dwarf state.

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