In search of planets outside our own solar system, scientists have discovered many interesting types of planets, one of which is called “hot Jupiter”, and new research suggests they are more bizarre than astronomers once thought. As the name suggests, hot Jupiter is a gas giant planet much hotter than Jupiter itself. The orbits of these planets are very close to their host stars, making them too hot to support any type of life (or we assume).
Now, scientists are using data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to show that some of these planets are so hot that they are essentially breaking down or even tearing themselves.
According to the study, published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters, the star-facing hydrogen molecules of the super-hot Jupiter planet known as KELT-9b are torn apart by the intense heat flowing out of their stars, and these molecules cannot be reformed until they orbit the dark side of the planet.
In a report, lead author Megan Mansfield of the University of Chicago said there are other hot and super-hot Jupiters, which are not so hot but still warm enough to make these strange movements.
Planets like KELT-9b are not very common, possibly because of the extreme conditions they are in. In this case, the super-hot Jupiter orbits it every half of the Earth. That’s the incredibly close relationship between stars and planets, and it’s unclear how long these planets can exist before they’re fragmented.