Astronomers have discovered the darkest planet in the known universe, one which reflects only 1% of light.
“It’s just ridiculous how dark this planet is, how alien it is compared to anything we have in our solar system,” David Kipping, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told SPACE.com. “It’s darker than the blackest lump of coal, than dark acrylic paint you might paint with. It’s bizarre how this huge planet became so absorbent of all the light that hits it.”
The planet has the terrible name TrES-2b, and it orbits the star GSC 03549-02811 (we have really got to get a new nomenclature system for exoplanets and distant stars. Yeesh), which is about 750 light years from Earth. What makes TrES-2b (or not to be) so dark? “It’s a mystery as to what’s causing it to be so dark,” Kipping said. “There’s a good chance it’s a chemical we haven’t even thought of yet.”
The planet is a big Jupiter sized world, and it’s so hot that it actually emits a reddish glow. It was discovered by the Kepler spacecraft, which discovers new exoplanets by seeing them pass in front of their suns.