A team of scientists led by Alex Smith from Keele University in Staffordshire, UK, recently revealed the discovery of what they believe is the hottest planet in our Universe. According to the researchers, the temperature on Wasp-33b, also known as, HD15082, measured in at a scorching 3200°C (5,792° F)!
The planet, which is believed to be four and half times the size of Jupiter, lies 380 light years away from Earth in the constellation of Andromeda. According to the scientists, there are two reasons for Wasp-33b's scorching temperatures.
The first one is its proximity to its sun. It is so close that it takes a mere 29.5 hours to complete its orbit around it. The second reason the planet sizzles, is the temperature of its own sun which is a whopping 7,160°C or 1,560°C hotter than the temperature of our sun which measures in at a mere, 5,600°C.
Wasp 33-b was first observed in 2006, by a group called SuperWasp (Super Wide Angle For Search For Planets) whose mission is to discover the billions of planetary systems that exist outside our Universe. Since most of them are undetectable because they do not emit their own light or are obscured by their bright parent stars, they are found using a 'transit' method - that is by observing the planetary suns and watching for any sign of them being temporarily obscured by orbiting planets.
Prior to the discovery of Wasp-33b, the hottest known planet was Wasp-12b, which lies 600 light years away and measures in at around 2,300°C. Wasp-12b is so close to its sun that it is slowly being devoured by it and scientists believe that it may not even be around in ten million years.
Given that we have spotted only a few hundred planetary systems so far, there are probably a lot more even hotter planets, waiting to be discovered. Quite amazing when you think that only 20 years ago, the hottest known planet was Venus with its sizzling temperature of 460°C!
Resources: News.ScienceMag.org, newsscientist.com, superwasp.org