Astronomers Have Discovered a Sunless Planet With Seriously Bizarre Weather
PSO J318.5-22 would not make a great vacation destination.
Utilizing a telescope in Chile, astronomers from Edinburgh University have determined that one of the strangest planets ever found is even weirder than they knew. The lyrically named PSO J318.5-22 is about the size of Jupiter, doesn’t orbit a star, and is wrapped in clouds of dust and molten iron.
Citing an October report published in The Astrophysical Journal, the BBC reported that the astronomers were “able to carry out accurate measurements of the object’s varying brightness” and they “estimated temperatures inside its clouds to exceed” 1470 degrees Fahrenheit, even though it isn’t subject to the heat of nearby star.
The BBC quoted Dr. Beth Biller, one of the authors of the original article about PSO J318.5-22, who said that learning of the planet’s wild climate “shows just how ubiquitous clouds are in planets and planet-like objects.” She continued on to say her team hopes they can one day “detect weather in Earth-like exoplanets that may harbor life.”
Revelations about the weather on such a strange planet are fascinating and exciting, but it definitely sounds like the kind of place you wouldn’t want to visit, unless you had one hell of a sturdy umbrella.
Photos by NASA