GlacierDogMapMe: Is it a Planet or a “Failed Star”?
* This “massive, puffed-up oddity” planet is located in the constellation Andromeda. Called, KELT-1b, it is so massive that it may better be described as a ‘failed star’ rather than a planet. A super hot, super dense ball of metallic hydrogen, KELT-1b is located so close to its star that it whips through an entire “yearly” orbit in a little over a day - all the while being blasted by six thousand times the radiation Earth receives from the sun. It is one of the most bizarre transiting companions ever detected. The planet is slightly larger than Jupiter, but contains 27 times the mass. Thus, it qualifies as a ‘failed star,’ or “brown dwarf.” “This is the first definitively ‘inflated’ brown dwarf found, and exactly how this happened is a complete mystery that should keep theorists busy for a while,” Gaudi said. KELT-1b is a strange world, indeed. If you could stand on the surface, the “sun” would take up one quarter of the sky overhead. Although it is made primarily of hydrogen, it is so massive and compressed that its density matches that of the densest naturally occurring element on Earth: osmium - a shiny, bluish metal found in platinum ore that is approximately twice as dense as lead. Because it orbits its host star once every 30 hours, a solar “year” on KELT-1b passes in a little more than one Earth day. And because it orbits so closely, it is blasted with 6,000 times the amount of stellar radiation than we are exposed to on Earth. Its surface temperature is likely above 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit (about 2,200 degrees Celsius). By comparison, the planet Mercury orbits our sun once every 88 days, and the hottest temperature on the surface reaches only 800 degrees Fahrenheit (more than 425 degrees Celsius).
* Fewer than 1 percent of the extrasolar planets ever discovered have been both extremely massive and extremely close to their host stars. “This is a great system for studying orbital dynamics,” said Siverd, who is the lead investigator on the KELT-1 discovery. “It has the strongest tides of any brown dwarf system found so far,” he added.
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