An international team, led by researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), who joined forces with theoreticians from the University of Bern (UNIBE), Switzerland, discovered the presence of iron and titanium vapors in the atmosphere of and exoplanet. The detection of these heavy metals was made possible by the surface temperature of this planet, which reaches more than 4000 degrees.
KELT-9 is a star located 650 light years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus (the Swan). With a temperature of over 10,000 degrees, it is almost twice as hot as the Sun. This star is orbited by a giant gas planet, KELT-9b, which is 30 times closer than the Earth’s distance from the Sun. Because of this proximity, the planet circles its star in 36 hours and is heated to a temperature of over 4,000 degrees. It’s not as hot as the Sun, but hotter than many stars. At present, we do not yet know what an atmosphere looks like and how it can evolve under such conditions.
This discovery reveals the atmospheric properties of a new class of so-called “ultra-hot Jupiter.” However, scientists believe that many exoplanets have completely evaporated in environments similar to KELT-9b. Although this planet is probably massive enough to withstand total evaporation
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