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Calling this exoplanet alien is an understatement

Worlds without end: Using the space telescope TESS astronomers have determined that one of the hottest exoplanets known, with surface temperatures as much as 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than our Sun), is even stranger than expected.

Not only does the exoplanet have a polar orbit around its star, that star rotates so fast that its equator bulges out, actually making its poles as much as 1,500 degrees F hotter than the equator.

With each orbit, KELT-9 b twice experiences the full range of stellar temperatures, producing what amounts to a peculiar seasonal sequence. The planet experiences “summer” when it swings over each hot pole and “winter” when it passes over the star’s cooler midsection. So KELT-9 b experiences two summers and two winters every year, with each season about nine hours.

The star, about 670 light years away, is thought to be twice as massive as the Sun, with the exoplanet having a mass 2.9 times that of Jupiter. Whether it is a gas giant like Jupiter or has an atmosphere is entirely unknown. At these temperatures the situation is so alien we really only know the orbit and approximate range of temperatures.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

2 comments

  • Scott M.

    Sounds a lot like the planet Mesklin from Hal Clement’s “Mission of Gravity”…minus the ultra-high temperatures, of course.

  • Col Beausabre

    “Alien” is a bigoted, Earth-Centric, Rocky Planet Privileging, Gas Giant Phobic term. If you don’t adopt better terminology you shall be reported to the Thought Police

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